Baptism and the Great Commission

When should a person be baptized? I was recently in a country where they baptized people within minutes of receiving Christ as Savior. Most around the world delay baptism for several months or years after salvation.

There is no debate that a new believer should be baptized but the question is: how soon? The Great Commission makes it plain that baptism is part of the whole package but it doesn’t say “when.”

In the book of Acts, there does not seem to be a delay in baptizing new believers. Philip was evangelizing the Ethiopian Eunuch and the first question he had was can I be baptized? Paul led the jailer and his family to Christ and they baptized them that night. So there seems to be a precedent for immediate baptism. Some however argue that baptism should be delayed until there is sufficient time to teach the new believer about the Christian life or until they prove through their actions that they are truly regenerate. This approach is governed by experiences where false professions were made.

Those who baptize immediately, indicate that it sets the pace for obedience to the rest of the Bible. Those who refuse immediate baptism seem to always struggle with obedience from that point on. There seems to be something about baptism that crystalizes the decision and indicates the new believer will do whatever the Bible says.

This may not answer the question for you but there is one thing sure: baptism is part of the Great Commission (Matthew 29:19).

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