Why don’t you believe baptism matters when Christ, himself baptized, said you must be to fulfill all righteousness?


Would you mind explaining why you do not believe it matters whether you are baptized, even when Christ said that to fulfill all righteousness, you must be. Please, I need to know.


The text to which you allude was spoken by Jesus at the time of His baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. It can be found in the Gospel of Matthew and the passage translated in one of the newer versions (Jerusalem Bible) is perhaps more easily understood:

“Then Jesus …came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you,’ he said, ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.” —Matthew 3:15

Jesus’ baptism was a fulfillment of the law of righteousness or the law of faith and obedience by which Jesus lived. It was part of the divine arrangement at that time. To not have complied with the rite of baptism would have been to disobey the command of God; but this is not to say that baptism is binding upon all of God’s people in all ages. For more on this, click here.

This passage communicates several things:

  1. Jesus knowledge that he was to be baptized
  2. John’s humility, for he felt himself unworthy to so service his superior
  3. Jesus’ obedience to the law, in being baptized
  4. John’s obedience, for despite his feeling the lesser, he baptizes Jesus
  5. Jesus’ recognition of baptism as temporary, or “for the time being” (that age)
  6. the association of baptism with the bestowing of Holy Spirit power (v. 16-17)

The passage does not however, demand the continued practice of baptism after the Jewish age. John, when questioned by the Pharisees as to the purpose of his baptisms, made it clear that literal water baptism was not the whole law, nor the most important aspect in the law. He said “I baptize with water; but there stands among you unknown to you the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal strap. …I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God” (John 1:26-27, 34 JB). It is the message of Christ that they were to be and that we should be concerned about; not the literal rites of baptism.