When God sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the followers of Jesus began to speak in foreign languages (Acts 2:4-8). Devout Jews asked, “What does this mean?”
Peter explained to these “men of Israel” (verse 22) that this was a fulfillment of prophecy (from Joel and the Psalms), and that they had crucified their Messiah. They were “pierced to the heart”. (verse 37) Peter responded that they should “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (verse 38).
In verse 39 Peter again quoted prophecies from the Old Testament (Isaiah 44:3) and spoke of “the promise” that is for them and their children and all that are far off. “The promise” spoken is the promise of blessing. When he says “children” he is speaking of their descendants. It was to Israel first that God gave the promises of the Old Testament. Romans 9:4 says, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.” Romans 9:4 (ESV) Although the nation of Israel had rejected their Messiah, the way was open for individual Jews to accept him.
The doctrine of infant baptism is not taught anywhere in scripture. In Acts 8:12, we see both men and women being baptized. True baptism for the Christian is an immersion into Jesus as explained in Romans 6:3-4. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Jesus Christ have been baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Our new life includes the denial of self-will and submission to God’s will: “not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39.
Water baptism is an outward sign or symbol of what has already happened inside a person. Our wills are buried, symbolized by being immersed in water. As we are raised again out of the water, it represents our new life in Christ. Water baptism is an outward sign that we no longer live to do our wills but to do the will of God. This is a choice that no one can make for another.