John Piper@ http://www.desiringgod.org is on part 2 of a 3-part series on baptism and church membership and this Week he deals with "What Is Baptism, and How Important Is It?"
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
- a command of Jesus,
- that expresses union with him,
- by immersion in water,
- in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit,
- for believers only.
A sense of the continuity of the old and new covenants leads some people to baptize infants. But the argument for infant baptism doesn't work textually or covenantally.for the full version see http://www.desiringgod.org
Textually, the apostle Paul makes plain that baptism is for those who have been raised with Jesus through faith (Col. 2:12) and are sons of God through faith (Gal. 3:26–27). Baptism is not for those who don't have faith in Jesus—whether adult unbelievers or infants.
Covenantally, while the old-covenant sign of circumcision was administered to males after their physical birth into the national people of God, the new-covenant sign of baptism is to be administered to both males and females after their spiritual birth into the international people of God. New birth by the gospel now provides entrance into the people of God, not physical birth, and is marked by believer baptism, not circumcision.