Purification with Water
For the Jews, the Law of Moses requires ritual washing (ablutions) for priests after certain sacrifices as part of religious services, and for individuals to be cleansed because of any contagious disease. This washing with water for purification has been a Jewish custom since pre-biblical times. The early Christians, who primarily were Jewish converts, followed their custom of religious cleansing seven days after their circumcision. The persons were questioned closely, so that his purpose of conversion into the religion could be known.
Then the person was immersed naked into a pool of water, and when he emerged he was considered to be a true son of Israel. This allowed new converts access into the temple to participate in religious sacrifices. The necessity of baptism was also preached by John the Baptist, not according to the Jewish law or religion or any other religion or traditions. Jesus states that John’s baptism was according to dictates from heaven. However, after the crucifixion of Jesus, a modification was introduced, that instead of the baptism of repentance, now Christians were and are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
For earlier Christians, and for the Christians of today, baptism represents renouncing the old way of life, and demonstrating to start a new life committed to obeying God. Baptism prevents a person reverting to the old ways, because he jeopardizes right to heaven and condemns himself/herself to damnation till all eternity. When a person is truly repentant of past sins, then the person is baptized by a representative of Jesus Christ. This belief includes the conviction that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, and the vow to follow all the teachings of the Bible. He must acknowledge that Jesus has saved him from eternal damnation, and was crucified to wash away the sins of all mankind. By receiving baptism, the person being baptized must subscribe to and believe all this. The word “baptize” is derived from the Greek word baptizo which literally means to immerse, plunge or put into.
Some Churches do practice pouring or sprinkling water over the infant’s head. Many sects contend that this method is incorrect, and the only way of giving baptism correctly is to follow the baptism given by John the Baptist to Jesus Christ, which was complete immersion into the Jordan River. Biblical verses relating to baptism, that this ritual saves you not as removing dirt from a body, it literally means removing sin from a body. It also emphasizes that a person believes in all the scripture in the Bible, and in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is depicted as the final baptism or the final cleansing. History clearly records that infant baptism was known and practiced since early time, both by the Jews and followers of other religions.