What exactly is baptism?
The word "baptism" as it appears in the Bible means immersion (the process of submersion in water followed by emergence from the water). Scholars agree that the baptism of the Bible is immersion.
The following examples from the Bible substantiate that conclusion:
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came up out of the water." Matthew 3:16 "Then Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water." Acts 8:37-38
Note the descriptions of the baptisms - "down into the water," "came up out of the water."
What is the significance of baptism?
Baptism is the outward expression of the inward miracle. It is a visible, tangible, physical expression of what is happening inside spiritually. Our baptism is a picture to be seen by others revealing what is happening within us.
Two descriptive word pictures are given in the Bible to explain what happens at baptism.
1. "Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Romans 6:3 Colossians 2:1 We are identifying with Jesus' experience and demonstrating outwardly in our baptism that: we are dying to our old life and the ways of sin. we are burying that old life of sin. and we rise to live the new life.
2. "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." - Galatians 3:27 We are demonstrating by our baptism that we are: taking off our old clothes of our sinful nature and lifestyle, and putting on new clothes of Jesus' nature and lifestyle. We put on Jesus' values and His priorities. We surrender to Jesus' way. We make Him Lord of our lives, as well as Savior. That means - "I'm no longer the boss of my life. Jesus is." Galatians 2:20