Can you get baptized twice? How many times can you get baptized, according to the Bible?
Water baptism, also known as baptism by immersion, is an act done publicly before the church involving immersing someone in water to symbolize their faith in Jesus Christ.
It is an outward expression of the believer to personally identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Baptism is a significant aspect of being a Christian.
There are different types of baptism, as recorded in scripture, that a Christian must partake in.
They are the water baptism (Acts 8:38) and the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5, Matthew 3:11). However, the question that arises in the hearts of many people about being baptized twice is usually about water baptism.
Due to many reasons, some people end up being baptized more than once, which poses uncertainties about whether or not they are committing sin.
This is what this article will be addressing in detail.
Is it a sin to be baptized twice?
To answer this question, let’s look at what scripture says regarding water baptism.
In Matthew 3:1-6, the Bible tells us that John the Baptist went about preaching repentance to the people, and many came to him to be baptized at the Jordan River after confessing their sins.
In Acts 2:38, when Peter gave his sermon, he told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins.
What these verses show us is that water baptism is done upon repentance.
It is a public demonstration of turning away from the life of sin to the new life in Christ.
Repentance was preached, and when people repented, they were to get baptized in water to display their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Baptism was never meant to be done multiple times.
Can we, therefore, say that those who get baptized more than once have sinned?
Due to many doctrinal errors that crept in during and after the time of the apostles and the early church, there has been a need for certain people to get baptized again.
People have fallen ignorantly for false doctrines, and upon realization, they must retrace their steps to follow the true doctrine of Christ.
It becomes a sin if baptism is being done as a sport rather than a demonstration of a repentant heart surrendering to Jesus Christ.
Who was baptized twice?
The Bible records no multiple water baptisms.
Reading through the New Testament, it is clear that baptism was meant to be a one-time event for the believer.
The word of God was preached, and when the people preached to are repentant and seek to follow the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ, they become baptized by water and prayed on to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, Acts 19:5-6).
Both the baptism of water and the baptism of the Holy Ghost are meant to occur once in the life of a believer.
In scripture, people were baptized twice by receiving one of these baptisms after the other.
For instance, the people present in the house of Cornelius all received the baptism of the Holy Spirit as Peter was preaching the gospel to them, and they were only baptized by water afterward (Acts 10:44-48).
Another instance was the people in Samaria in Acts 8:14-17. The people had received the word of God, repented of their sins, and were baptized by water.
However, they had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Hence, Peter and John had to go to Samaria to pray for the people to receive the Holy Spirit.
These passages show that once a person gives their life to Christ, they are baptized by water and the Holy Spirit, none of which was done twice.
Should I get baptized again?
There are reasons why a person may have to be baptized again today.
If you have been baptized once before and are wondering if you must be baptized again, you must examine yourself closely.
Suppose you fall in any of the categories that would be discussed hereafter as reasons to be re-baptized.
In that case, there is a high chance that you should consider getting baptized again.
Infant baptism refers to the baptism of babies and young children.
Children are usually given Christian names (or christened) at this baptism. But is there anywhere in the Bible where infant baptism is mentioned?
In all the scriptures discussed in this article so far, and in many others, nowhere did the Bible mention or suggest that babies, toddlers, or children are, or should be, baptized.
Baptism only occurs when the person is old enough to understand the need to repent and be baptized.
Babies and children cannot fully comprehend the concepts of repentance from sins and putting faith in Jesus.
Even though some children may develop quicker than their peers in terms of intelligence, it is paramount to ensure that they have reached a certain age and maturity when they can make the decision for themselves by fully understanding that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and therefore should repent with all their heart and believe in Jesus Christ.
Also, the baptism of babies cannot be indeed called “baptism” because there is only a sprinkling of water over them or their heads.
From the Greek word it was coined, baptism means to be dipped or immersed under water.
Every time baptism was mentioned in scripture, it was done by immersion.
Sprinkling or pouring water does not represent baptism and should not be called so.
Therefore, infant baptism is a valid reason someone must be re-baptized. Baptizing babies and young children is a false doctrine that the Bible does not teach.
The parents of the young children make the decisions for them, and this is not how being saved works.
A person is saved by believing in Christ Jesus, believing that God raised Him from the dead, and confessing with their mouth that He is Lord (Romans 10:9).
Baptism occurs after salvation.
Those baptized as infants need to be baptized again by immersion after they have truly repented and have faith in Jesus Christ for themselves, comprehending the commitment to walk with God.
To backslide means to return to living in sin.
It means to forsake following Jesus to go after the lustful desires of the flesh like one has not been saved.
Backsliding is not to be mistaken for stumbling.
For the latter, the person may find themselves falling into sin and temptation from time to time.
Paul in Romans 7:18 says that no good thing dwells in the flesh.
The flesh has desires that are contrary to the desires of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:17).
It is possible to give in to the desires of the flesh (Romans 7:23). However, a person who stumbles can quickly repent of the sin committed and continue their walk with God.
The Bible says that if we “confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us…and… cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
Believers can stumble into sin from time to time. But when a believer backslides, they return to the lifestyle of a sinner.
They have turned their backs to God and returned to the life they once lived before they were saved.
They are no longer fit to be called believers at this point.
A person who stumbles does not need to be re-baptized.
They only have to confess their sins to God as soon as they realize it and continue walking with God. However, those who have backslidden and turned away from God for a long time must be baptized again when they genuinely repent.
The reason is that they, who had once held unto the confession of Jesus Christ as their Lord, went back to their old life of sin and became one who never knew Christ.
Jesus Christ said that on the last day, He will tell certain people, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23).
Those who are in Christ become dead to sin (Romans 6:11), therefore, living in sin means they no longer identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In Romans 6:1-4, Paul explains that we have been baptized into the death of Christ, and just as He was raised to life again, we are to walk in the newness of that life.
In another passage, Paul says it is no longer him who lives, but Christ lives in him.
Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This means that anyone living in sin isn’t alive in Christ.
Therefore, they destroyed whatever baptism they once had (see Galatians 2:17-18). For this reason, returning to Jesus, they have to be baptized again.
Unrepentance at Baptism
Some people engaged in baptism without being genuinely repentant.
They may have viewed baptism as one of those things a Christian should do, and wanting to identify as a Christian or doing it to fulfill an expectation of them, they got baptized.
These are the wrong reasons to be baptized.
Baptism should only be done when one understands they are sinners and have chosen to repent, committing their lives to serve God.
The whole point of baptism is identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Going into the water demonstrates dying to the flesh as Jesus died, and being raised from the water demonstrates being raised to life in Christ (Romans 6:1-4).
Being repentant means believing Jesus Christ with your whole heart and confessing your sins (Acts 8:37, Acts 3:19, Acts 26:20).
Therefore, baptism without repentance is like works without faith: it is dead.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and whatever is done without faith is a sin, according to Paul.
Romans 14:23: “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
As such, if you were baptized without true repentance and faith, you must be baptized again now that you genuinely desire to be in Christ and walk with God.
Baptism done in unbelief or without repentance negates the true purpose of baptism.
Final Thoughts On Can You Get Baptized Twice in Christianity?
The Christian’s calling is the calling of faith, and faith comes upon repentance.
Jesus commanded the baptism of all believers (Matthew 28:19).
Everyone in Christ must be baptized by water and the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul emphasizes being called to one baptism.
Christians are to be baptized once upon genuine repentance, which demonstrates their being a part of God’s family and uniting with Christ.
Baptizing more than once is only a sin when it is done without true faith.
It shouldn’t be seen as some kind of sport or activity done to “feel” saved.
Being saved is not a feeling but the reality of those who walk with God.
The Holy Spirit bears witness to the believer that he/she is a child of God (Romans 8:16).
Re-baptism done in unbelief is, therefore, walking in sin because it shows a distrust in the word of God. However, suppose you were baptized once before as a baby, or you previously turned away from God for an extended period, or you got baptized without true repentance, getting baptized again with full repentance, faith, and desire to walk with God from now on.
In that case, you are not walking in sin.
It is a beautiful thing to turn to God and desire to be named with Him and walk in the newness of life in obedience, and becoming baptized is a demonstration of such desire.