Should I Get Baptized?
Mark the following statements true or false:
Baptism is a requirement for Christians.
The main purpose of baptism is to protect you from giving in to sin.
Baptism puts you in line for salvation.
If you’re not baptized, you’re not accountable to God for your actions.
If your friends are getting baptized, that means you’re ready for baptism too.
IF YOU’RE living up to God’s standards, cultivating a friendship with God, and talking to others about your faith, it’s only natural for you to be thinking about baptism. But how do you know if you’re ready for that step? To help answer that question, let’s consider the true-or-false statements above.
● Baptism is a requirement for Christians.
True. Jesus directed that his disciples be baptized. (Matthew 28:19, 20) In fact, Jesus himself submitted to baptism. To follow Christ, you need to be baptized when you’re mature enough to make that decision and have a genuine desire to do so.
● The main purpose of baptism is to protect you from giving in to sin.
False. Baptism is a public symbol of your dedication to Jehovah. Your dedication isn’t a cold contract that restrains you from doing things that you would secretly like to do. Rather, you dedicate your life to Jehovah because you want to live by his standards.
● Baptism puts you in line for salvation.
True. The Bible says that baptism is an important step to gaining salvation. (1 Peter 3:21) This doesn’t mean, though, that baptism is like an insurance policy that you buy to protect yourself in case disaster should strike. You get baptized because you love Jehovah and want to serve him forever with your whole heart.—Mark 12:29, 30.
● If you’re not baptized, you’re not accountable to God for your actions.
False. James 4:17 states: “If one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him”—baptized or not. So if you know what’s right and you’re mature enough to take a serious look at your life, perhaps this is the time to talk matters over with a parent or another mature Christian. In that way, you can learn how to progress toward baptism.
● If your friends are getting baptized, that means you’re ready for baptism too.
False. The decision to be baptized needs to come from your own willing heart. (Psalm 110:3) You should be baptized only when you’re fully aware of what being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses involves and when you’re sure that you’re ready to take on this responsibility.—Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.
A Life-Altering Step
Baptism is a life-altering step that leads to many blessings. At the same time, it entails a serious responsibility—that of living up to a personal dedication you’ve made to Jehovah.
Are you nearing that point? If so, you have good reason to be happy. What lies before you is the greatest privilege of all—that of serving Jehovah wholeheartedly and living in a way that shows that you’re truly dedicated to him.—Matthew 22:36, 37.
Learn how to set goals so that you can make the most of your life.
“Present your bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with your power of reason.”—Romans 12:1.
With your parents’ help, find someone in the congregation who can assist you to make spiritual progress.—Acts 16:1-3.
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
The act of baptism is a vital part of “the mark” that identifies you for salvation.—Ezekiel 9:4-6.
To progress toward baptism, I will increase my understanding of the following Bible teachings: ․․․․․
What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
● Why is baptism such a serious step?
● What might cause a young person to take the step of baptism too soon?
● For what reason might a young person unwisely hold back from dedication and baptism?
[Blurb on page 306]
“Knowing that I was baptized helped me to make wise decisions and not to go down certain paths that could have led to bad consequences.”—Holly
[Box/Picture on page 307]
Questions Often Asked About Baptism
What does baptism symbolize? Being immersed and raised up means that you have died to a self-seeking course and are now made alive to do Jehovah’s will.
What does it mean to dedicate your life to Jehovah? It means to give up ownership of yourself, promising to put the doing of God’s will ahead of all else. (Matthew 16:24) It’s fitting that you make a formal dedication in prayer to Jehovah sometime before your baptism.
What should you be doing with your life before baptism? You should be living in harmony with God’s Word and talking to others about your faith. You should be cultivating a friendship with God through prayer and study of his Word. You should be serving Jehovah because you choose to do so—not because others are pressuring you.
Is there a certain age by which you should be baptized? Age is not the primary factor. Still, you should be old enough—and mature enough—to understand the meaning of dedication.
What if you want to get baptized but your parents say you should wait? Perhaps they’d like you to gain more experience in Christian living. Value their advice, and use this time to grow in your friendship with Jehovah.—1 Samuel 2:26.
[Box on page 308, 309]
Are You Thinking of Getting Baptized?
Check your progress by considering the questions and statements below. Be sure to look up the cited scriptures before writing your answers.
In what ways are you currently showing confidence in Jehovah?—Psalm 71:5. ․․․․․
How have you demonstrated that your perceptive powers are trained to distinguish right from wrong?—Hebrews 5:14. ․․․․․
How often do you pray? ․․․․․
How specific are your prayers, and what do they reveal about your love for Jehovah?—Psalm 17:6. ․․․․․
List below any goals you would like to set with regard to your prayers. ․․․․․
How regular is your personal study of the Bible?—Joshua 1:8. ․․․․․
What do you include in your personal study? ․․․․․
List below any goals you would like to set with regard to your personal study. ․․․․․
Is your ministry meaningful? (Examples: Can you explain basic Bible teachings to others? Do you call back on interested ones? Are you working toward conducting a home Bible study?)
□ Yes □ No
Do you engage in the ministry even if your parents do not?—Acts 5:42.
□ Yes □ No
List below any goals you would like to set with regard to your ministry.—2 Timothy 2:15. ․․․․․
Would you describe your attendance at Christian meetings as regular or sporadic?—Hebrews 10:25. ․․․․․
In what ways do you participate at meetings? ․․․․․
Do you attend when your parents cannot (if you have their permission to do so)?
□ Yes □ No
Can you say that you truly delight to do God’s will?—Psalm 40:8.
□ Yes □ No
Can you list specific instances in which you have resisted peer pressure?—Romans 12:2. ․․․․․
How do you plan to keep your love for Jehovah strong?—Jude 20, 21. ․․․․․
Would you serve Jehovah even if your parents and friends stopped doing so?—Matthew 10:36, 37.
□ Yes □ No
[Picture on page 310]
Like marriage, baptism is a life-altering step—it shouldn’t be taken lightly