Baptism is very important in the Bible.
That is, if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, most probably you will not give importance to it.
Jesus said that if anyone wishes to be righteous, they must be baptized by the baptism He was baptized. This means baptism is required for salvation.
Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
Mat 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
Since it is important for salvation, Jesus asked the Apostles to baptize everyone who will hear the words of God and believe.
Mat 28:19 Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
Mat 28:20 and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.
Though it is important for salvation, many people did not give importance to baptism. They thought of it as only a ritual that everyone should undergo. Some people don’t know the importance as well as the things required for a person to be baptized.
Baptism is a commandment of God
As a commandment, a person has to have full consent when it comes to baptism. It should not be forced with anyone. It should be voluntary and with full knowledge of what is happening. The Bible did not teach of any infant baptism. All who were baptized in the New Testament conform with the requirements of baptism.
Mar 16:15 And he said to them, Go into all the world, and give the good news to everyone.
Mar 16:16 He who has faith and is given baptism will get salvation; but he who has not faith will be judged.
The elements of baptism are present in these verses: (1) the words of God must be preached and be heard first, (2) faith should come upon hearing the words of God (3) baptism should follow.
In these elements mentioned by Jesus, none of these are told of conforming to infant baptism. Therefore, infants should not be baptized at all. Infants have no capability of hearing, believing and accepting the words of God. They cannot conform to the Gospel of Jesus. They cannot profess faith. Even if they can hear the words of God, they cannot even understand any word from it.
Apostle Peter says,
Act 2:38 And Peter said, Let your hearts be changed, every one of you, and have baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will have the Holy Spirit given to you.
From this verse, we will notice that baptism is done in the name of Jesus Christ. It is done by the changing of our hearts and having repentance for the forgiveness of our sins. Infants cannot change their hearts and repent even if parents want them to. Infants do not sin, so they don’t need to repent and be baptized.
Jesus’ definition of infants or children are worthy of the kingdom of heaven. Why? Because they are innocent, sinless and incapable of deciding which is good and which is not.
Mat 19:13 Then some people took little children to him, so that he might put his hands on them in blessing: and the disciples said sharp words to them.
Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, Let the little ones come to me, and do not keep them away: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
If the children have sins, then they should be baptized. But this is not what Christ told about little children. They belong to the kingdom of heaven. They don’t deserve baptism, because baptism is defined in the Bible as a process of cleaning one’s inner self, by undergoing cleansing both by the words of God and by water.
Rom 6:4 We have been placed with him among the dead through baptism into death: so that as Christ came again from the dead by the glory of the Father, we, in the same way, might be living in new life.
In baptism, one’s self is buried; not the physical self but the old self that is guilty of committing sins against God. That old self is buried in the water and after baptism, we have the opportunity to live a new life which is created through the cleaning of our hearts and soul through the words of God. In the eyes of God, we will all be like infants, sinless and have an opportunity to live according to His will.