The Lord Jesus and the apostles were baptized and that means that baptism is the right thing to do. It demonstrates what has happened in a person’s heart. Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Water immersion represents the death of one’s will (as a person is covered by water) into the will of Christ and the beginning of a new way of life (new nature). There are circumstances that might prohibit someone from outwardly expressing his/her conviction and consecration to the Lord but these should be rare. I can think of sickness, disability, imprisonment and similar confinements.  The beautiful symbol of water immersion should be observed by all children of God unless the circumstances do not permit it. Consider the example of the Eunuch from Ethiopia, who after learning the meaning of the prophecy of Isaiah said to Philip: “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Acts 8:26-40

Another baptism mentioned in the New Testament is the baptism with the holy spirit. John the Baptist preached about it in Mark 1: 8 “…but He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." This baptism with the Holy Spirit is essential to heavenly salvation because as Romans 8:9 puts it “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” 

The baptism into God’s will by the power of the holy spirit is what Jesus explained in Luke 12:50: “But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!” Jesus spoke those words after He was immersed in the Jordan River. So this baptism was not by water but was ongoing. Specifically, it was the baptism of submitting to His Father’s will by the holy and mighty power of God’s spirit.

Each follower of Jesus undergoes a similar baptism. The faithfulness to this kind of baptism is of paramount importance and will be rewarded with a heavenly reward.  However, only a select number of individuals will receive this heavenly resurrection. “Many are called but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14)

The rest of the world, not part of the chosen, will have the opportunity to rebuild their relationship with God when they are resurrected on earth. When Christ reigns, the whole earth will be filled with the “knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14)