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ANSWER: Baptism is the ceremony that those who are truly repentant of their sins must undergo in order to be forgiven and receive the gift of God's Holy Spirit. Being baptized is a requirement of salvation (Mark 16:16; Titus 3:5). The full symbolism of this simply ceremony can be understood when one accepts the Biblical teaching that believers should be COMPLETLY immersed in water (see Acts 2:38, 5:30 - 32, Luke 3:3, 24:46 - 47, Romans 5 - 6 and Colossians 2:12).
Some teach that a person be can properly baptized by merely sprinkling, pouring, etc. water on them. This belief is not only unsubstantiated in the Bible, it clouds and obscures what the baptismal service truly represents!
Once a person is baptized, the laying on of hands ceremony occurs (see Acts 6:6, 8:15 - 17, James 5:14 - 15, etc.). This service should be carried out by those who are mature in age and in the faith (they have been a Christian for 10, 15 or more years). They do NOT have to be "ordained" or organizationally approved before they can participate. Hands are placed on the believers head and shoulders, and prayers are made to God that he (if it is his will) grant the person the gift of his Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14 - 15, 17, 19:4 - 6).
Baptism is a visible declaration that a person has repented of their sins, accepted Jesus as his or her personal Savior, and is willing to commit their entire life in humble obedience and service to God (Acts 2:36 - 38).
Peter 3:21. and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[a] It saves you by the resurrection