The theological dictionary definition of Baptism is as follows: An immersion or sprinkling of water that signifies one's identification with a belief or cause. In Christianity it is the believer's identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection ( Romans 6:4-54 ). It is done in the name and authority ( Acts 4:7 ) of Christ with the baptismal formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ( Matt. 28:19 ). It does not save us ( 1 Pet. 3:21 ). However, it is our responsibility, as Christian believers, to receive it.
We find that baptism is full of significance! Paul teaches us that the Christian is supposed to go through a similar experience to what Jesus went through in His death, burial, and resurrection. The difference is that Jesus died physically and actually came back to life; we're to die to our sin, self, and old ways, and then rise again to live a holy life through the power of Jesus.
Baptism is an outward symbol of an inner change and transformation that is supposed to take place beforehand. It's very important to emphasize the fact that this can only be accomplished through the power, strength and help of Jesus. It's not that we have to completely overcome sin before we can be baptized, but we need to repent of our past sins and have our mind made up that we want to overcome sin, as we will allow God to give us the victory.
In the same way that Jesus descended down into that grave, we go down into the water of baptism, which represents our death to sin and the burial of our old life. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become...