Baptism in Jesus' Name
Introduction: Jesus' name is presented in the scriptures as being of great importance. "Neither is there salvation in any other," Peter said, "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4: 12). The name is the name of Jesus (vs. 7-12). The Christian is to do all he does "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Col. 3: 17). Water baptism is to be in the name of Jesus (Acts 2: 38, 8: 16, 10: 48, 19: 5).
I. Water baptism is said to be essential to salvation.
A. Jesus taught regarding the Great Commission: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved " (Mk. 16: 16). Water baptism when preceded by belief, repentance, and confession of Jesus' deity is for the remission of sin (Acts 2: 38, 22: 16).
B. Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God and places one into Christ, where salvation continues to be enjoyed (I Pet. 3: 21; Gal. 3: 27; 2 Tim. 2: 10).
C. The Pulpit Commentary makes the following observation regarding Matthew 28: 19: "'Baptizing them;' i.e. individuals of all the nations. The present participle denotes the mode of initiation into discipleship. Make them disciples by baptizing them. Christ thus explains his mysterious announcement to Nicodemus (Jn. 3: 5), 'Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God'" (Vol. 15, pg. 645).
II. To be baptized in Jesus' name is essentially equal to being baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28: 19).
A. This baptism, strictly viewed, is "into" (eis) the name of the Godhead and Jesus (Matt. 28: 19; Acts 8: 18, 19: 5. Epi, "upon" or "on" is used in Acts 2: 38 and en, "in," is found in Acts 10: 48). 'In eis, into) the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' Our version follows the Vulgate, in nomine, which does not give the right force to the expression. The phrase does not mean merely invoking the Name, under the sanction of the great Name, but something more than this. It signifies into the power and influence of the Holy Trinity, into faith in the three Persons of God, and the duties and privileges consequent on that faith into the family of God and obedience unto its head. The 'into' shows the end and aim of the consecration of baptism " (Pulpit Commentary).
B. Hence, baptism initiates a relationship between the one being baptized and God (Rom. 6: 3 ff.). In this special sense (relationship) God's people of old were baptized into Moses (I Cor. 10: 1, 2). There is one baptism today (Eph. 4: 5). The "one baptism" is water baptism (I Pet. 3: 20, 21).
III. Baptism into Jesus' name is an acknowledgement of Jesus' authority and Lordship.
A. Implicitly obeying Jesus is tantamount to accepting Jesus' Lordship (Lk. 6: 46). When one thus refuses scriptural baptism, one is refusing Jesus as Lord of their life (Ibid.). When one is baptized into Jesus' name, one is accessing Jesus' ability to save (Rom. 6: 3 ff.).
B. We are not baptized into some man or in regards to man. This Paul argued in his Epistle to the Corinthians (I Cor. 1: 11-13). Paul asked, "were ye baptized in the name of Paul" (I Cor. 1: 13). Their primary attachment was not to Paul but was to be to Christ. Without scriptural baptism, there can be no genuine attachment to Christ (I Pet. 3: 21).
IV. Baptism in Jesus' name involves all that is resident in Jesus' name.
A. W.E. Vine comments thus on "name" (onoma): "(II) for all that a 'name' implies, of authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, etc., of everything that the 'name' covers: (a) of the 'Name' of God as expressing His attributes, etc., e.g., Matt. 6:9; Luke 1:49; John 12:28; 17:6,26; Rom. 15:9; 1 Tim. 6:1; Heb. 13:15; Rev. 13:6; (b) of the 'Name' of Christ, e.g., Matt. 10:22; 19:29; John 1:12; 2:23; 3:18; Acts 26:9; Rom. 1:5; Jas. 2:7; 1 John 3:23; 3 John 1:7; Rev. 2:13; 3:8...."
B. The explanation that "in the name of Jesus" is a formula that is to be said at the time of baptism is shallow and simplistic (compare the variation in the language, Matt. 28: 19, Acts 2: 38, 19: 5).
C. Being baptized in Jesus' name is the direct and immediate result of accepting God's word (Acts 2: 41, see vs. 38 ff.).
Conclusion: In view of the importance of being baptized in Jesus' name, it is not surprising that people in the First Century were immediately baptized (Acts 16: 33). To be baptized in Jesus' name not only results in the attainment of all the promised blessings such as the remission of sins, but also means the one thus baptized is submitting to Jesus', power, greatness, and regal authority.