Buried Alive?



Step 1 of 1



Students of American literature are familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s famous fictional story, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” in which a woman is mistakenly buried alive by her twin brother, only to escape from her coffin and cause her brother’s death by the shock of seeing her again. Today, premature burial is extremely rare, at least in a physical sense. In a spiritual sense, however, it happens more often than we realize! Baptism is a ceremony described in the Bible as a symbol of conversion—the death of our sinful past as we rise to experience a new life of joy and victory in Jesus. Our former life of self-pleasing and rebellion against God is buried and left behind. Jesus made clear that it is important to know what the Bible says about baptism. And without understanding the true meaning of baptism, many people are being buried alive!

According to Jesus, all Christians need to be baptized. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, and believers in Jesus publicly demonstrate that belief through baptism. Jesus clearly says that the practice of baptism, which is mentioned nearly 100 times in the Bible, is an integral part of the Christian experience.
What was one of the last instructions that Jesus gave to His disciples?

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, _____________________ them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The last words a person speaks are often signi cant. In some of His last words to His disciples, Jesus shared His vision for the new Christian church. The leaders of this church were commissioned to share the gospel all over the world, encouraging people to accept Jesus and be baptized.
How many methods of baptism are recommended in the Bible?

One Lord, one faith, one __________________.

The one true baptism of the Bible is baptism in water, by full immersion.
The word “baptize” literally means “to immerse” or “to submerge.” It comes from the Greek word baptizo. Therefore, another word for baptism would simply be “immersion.” The Bible never uses the words “sprinkle” or “pour” in reference to baptism.

Jesus went “in” the Jordan River and then came “up from” the water. John the Baptist specifically chose to baptize people in the Jordan “because there was much water there.” (John 3:23) Jesus was baptized in water by full immersion.
In John 1:29–34, John identities Jesus as the Messiah (compare with Matthew 3:11). The baptism of Jesus was a fulfillment of prophecy. It was a very important event!

It is clear from this passage that the apostles did not change the method of baptism. Here we find Philip and the Ethiopian man going down into the water, and then coming back up out of the water. The baptism was conducted by full immersion, according to the example of Jesus.
What does the symbol of water represent?

Arise and be baptized, and ____________ away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

The symbol of water is used to represent spiritual cleansing. It symbolizes purity and a fresh start. The Bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Everyone is in need of the new start baptism provides.
Of course, there is no power in the water itself to wash away our sins. It is purely symbolic of the work God does in our lives.

Baptism symbolizes the washing away of the old life of sin and the beginning of a new life in Jesus Christ. Baptism is the sign by which believers experience Christ’s death, burial and resurrection in their lives— through death to self and rebirth to a new life.
Just as Jesus died, was buried and then was resurrected, so the new Christian dies to the old life of sin, is buried beneath the water in baptism and then rises with a new life empowered by the Holy Spirit.
This symbolism is at the heart of the meaning and importance of baptism. The person who is baptized rst chooses to lay down the life of sin, is buried in the waters of baptism and is raised up out of the water to live a new life in Jesus.

Paul wrote that when a person is baptized, that person has “put on Christ.” Our old identity is swallowed up in a new identity—that of being one with Jesus Christ.
Does it really matter which form of baptism is used?

He who believes and is ___________________ will be saved.

While baptism itself does not secure the gift of salvation—salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ—baptism is a vital part of the Christian experience.
If the form of baptism is incorrect, the symbolism—and therefore the meaning—of baptism is radically changed. Baptism means death to the old life, and resurrection to a new life in Jesus. Only baptism by immersion can signify that spiritual reality.
How do you know if you are ready for baptism?

When you accept Jesus as your personal Savior (Acts 8:37; John 3:3, 5) and

experience the new birth, you:

  • Understand the teachings of Jesus. (Matthew 28:19, 20)

  • Believe the teachings of Jesus. (Mark 16:16)

  • Have repented of past sins. (Acts 2:38)

  • Have agreed to turn away from sin. (Romans 6:5, 6; Luke 3:7, 8)

Baptism is for those who have accepted Jesus and want to live together with Him. It is an exciting yet very serious decision. Jesus wants you to get to know Him and fully understand the commitment you are making.

True water baptism is accompanied by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To be baptized with the Holy Spirit means to be “fully immersed” in the Holy Spirit: receiving the Holy Spirit and allowing the Spirit to transform the life.
The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin and to bestow the righteousness of Jesus as the solution for sin. (John 16:8) It is also the Holy Spirit who helps us understand the teachings of God’s Word. (John 16:13)
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is demonstrated through producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23), as well as receiving the gifts of the Spirit. This enables us to e ectively share the good news about God’s love.
(1 Corinthians 12:3–7)

When we are baptized into Jesus, we automatically become part of His body, the church. The church is God’s chosen body of people who help nurture us in our spiritual life as well as work with us in the spreading of the gospel. When we make a decision for baptism, we are also making a commitment to become an active member of God’s church.



One of the most effective tactics of the devil is causing people to procrastinate—to put off making a decision. The Bible says, “Why are you waiting?”
Don’t put off baptism until you think you are “good enough.” Don’t wait until you feel “clean.” Don’t wait for the approval of others. The Bible says, “Arise and be baptized.”
Don’t delay—make plans today for a fresh start in life through baptism.

When Jesus was baptized, God voiced His approval from heaven!
All of heaven rejoices when a person is baptized!