Baptism of Water
Baptism is an ordinance performed by immersion in water by someone with priesthood authority which symbolizes purification, rebirth, and resurrection. It’s a physical ceremonial act of taking the Savior’s name by symbolically following his path of death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord designated eight as baptismal age. Baptism is a covenant to maintain a sinless, Christlike life by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ to ourselves, our sins, our weaknesses. It’s also the gateway to admission into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Baptism is called the gate into God’s presence because it spiritually opens the gate of the Celestial Kingdom.
Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
The baptism of water is so critical to our salvation that it’s called a saving ordinance. Another baptism is also just as important to our eternal salvation. It’s called the baptism of fire.
Baptism of Fire
The Lord succinctly summarized His gospel as incorporating both baptisms.
And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.
John the Baptism foretold this baptism by fire experience to his disciples.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
After baptism by water, we receive the confirmation ordinance. Confirmation is another saving ordinance. As clean, sinless, reborn persons, we are confirmed by those holding Melchizedek Priesthood authority and commanded to receive the Holy Ghost.
Comforters and Their Companionship
Just as baptism by immersion doesn’t guarantee a sinless life, the confirmation ordinance does not guarantee the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, though that is the promised result. As we continue to obey the Lord’s commandments, including repentance, we receive the Holy Ghost and the baptism of fire.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
The baptism of fire sanctifies and purifies. It prepares us to have the constant companionship of the First Comforter, the Holy Ghost.
And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.
Receiving the companionship of the Holy Ghost accelerates our progress to receive the constant companionship of the Second Comforter, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord promised to manifest Himself to those receiving the Second Comforter.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Renewing Baptismal Covenants Through the Sacrament
Weekly, we renew our baptismal covenant as we worthily partake of the Sacrament. Through priesthood authority, the officiators petition God the Eternal Father to bless and sanctify sacramental emblems to our purification, leading to this Comforter.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the bloodof thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
Through the grace of Jesus Christ, He redeems our souls from sin through baptism. Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins enables us to receive the Holy Ghost through confirmation. The companionship of the Holy Ghost prepares and purifies us to receive the baptism of fire. The baptism of fire prepares us to receive the companionship of the Second Comforter, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord provides a wide variety of patterns and examples of how His commandments and ordinances are fulfilled. For example, Earth experienced a baptism by water through the Flood destroying her sinful inhabitants. At the Savior’s Second Coming, Earth will be baptized by fire to be purified, sanctified, and ready to receive her King. Jesus Christ will manifest Himself and abide on the Earth during the Millenium.
And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. …
These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.