Can you be baptized more than once?
In an ideal world, you should not have to be baptized more than once. Baptism is meant to be a one-time event that is done with a sincere heart toward God. However, because our world is not ideal, getting re-baptized is sometimes necessary.
In the book of Acts, the apostles preached that people should “repent, get baptized for the remission of sins, and you will receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Once new believers would repent and get baptized there is no mention of re-baptism anywhere in the New Testament. This shows us that water baptism was never meant to be a recurring event that happens multiple times in a person’s life.
Rather, throughout the New Testament, we see that when someone gives their life to the Lord they immediately get baptized, and then they never get baptized again after that.
But because we do not live in a perfect world, and because it’s been 2000 years since Christ died for us, there have been some doctrinal errors that cause people to need to get baptized again. This is what we will be addressing more thoroughly throughout this article.
Should I be baptized again after backsliding?
The short answer is: it depends. If by backsliding you mean that you walked away from Christ for an extended period of time, then I would suggest that you should be baptized again. But if you mean that you stumbled into sin, then all you need is to simply repent and continue your walk with God.
The Bible tells us how believers are to respond when we stumble into sin.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
This verse is addressed to believers who are walking with God. As we walk with Him there may be times when we stumble into sin. When this happens, this verse tells us to come to God and confess it to Him so that He can cleanse us from unrighteousness.
So, if you are someone who simply stumbled into sin then you do not need to get baptized again. You just need to realize that you made a mistake and that you need to come to God and receive His forgiveness.
But if you are someone who walked away from God and into the world for an extended period of time then this may require a different response.
Here is why I say this:
The Bible says that water baptism is the death and burial of our old life of sin.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4)
As you can see from the above scripture, baptism is an identification with Christ’s death and resurrection. We are to die to our old life of sin and be raised to a new life with Christ.
Now if we stumble along the way, that is okay cause the Bible says that we have an “Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). When we stumble we are to appear before God and confess our sins and he promises to forgive us.
But the Bible does warn against completely walking away from God and forsaking our repentant heart. Here is a passage of scripture that addresses walking away from God and into sin.
“But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” (Galatians 2:17-18).
This passage is saying that if someone is seeking justification from Christ, and along the way they are living in sin (not stumbling, but living there) then they are rebuilding what they once destroyed.
If this is you, then you have rebuilt sin in your life when you are meant to destroy it. I strongly encourage you to come back to God. Repent of your sin, and get baptized in water so that you can begin to walk with Him again.
Should I get re-baptized if I was baptized as an infant?
If you were baptized as an infant you should definitely get baptized again, on your own faith. Nowhere in scripture does it suggest that babies, or even really young children, should be baptized. In fact, baptism is meant to be done when someone is old enough to understand the meaning of repentance and faith in Christ.
Here is a passage of scripture that perfectly illustrates this:
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” (Acts 8:35-38)
Notice that when the eunuch asked Philip if he could be baptized Philip responded by saying “only if you believe with all your heart.” And when the eunuch responded with a clear understanding of his faith in Jesus that’s when Philip agreed to baptize him.
This is impossible to do with an infant. An infant cannot tell us that they have faith in Chirst. In fact, it is questionable if they even have the ability yet to put their faith in Christ. They are too young and underdeveloped to make such a commitment.
The same goes for a child that is around 2-3 years old.
Obviously, it depends on the child’s development because every child develops at slightly different rates, but the principle is the same: most children around this age are unable to comprehend that they sinned against a holy God, and because of that they need to repent and put their faith in Christ.
We shouldn’t make the mistake of baptizing children too young, who don’t understand the commitment they are making.
Now someone may ask, “what can it hurt if someone baptizes their kids as an infant? Why does it have to be something that is taught against?”
Because with infant baptism comes the false belief that you are saved. Baptism always comes after someone decides to give their life to Christ, never before.
So if we start baptizing children before they are able to make that decision then we are creating a tradition, or a religious ceremony, that communicates to people that they have been saved if they were baptized as an infant.
If you have been baptized as a child, before you were able to truly understand the commitment you were making, then you need to be baptized again, on your own faith.
Should I get rebaptized if I didn’t understand baptism the first time?
If you did not understand baptism the first time, but your repentance was sincere and if you’ve lived with Christ since then, then you do not need to be baptized again. However, if you did not understand and your repentance was not genuine then you need to be rebaptized.
The main focus is: was your repentance genuine when you decided to get baptized? If it was, then you do not need to be rebaptized because you understood baptism enough to know that it is the first step after you have repented.
However, if you did not truly repent and you didn’t understand baptism, then you need to get rebaptized.
Water baptism is all about repentance. In baptism, we are dying to the old life when we go under the water and rising to our new life, with Christ, when we come out of the water. It is us identifying with Christ’s death and resurrection. (Related article: Water Baptism (A Complete Study).
If you understand this and you have a true desire to follow Christ, and you didn’t before, find someone who will be willing to immerse you in water and go get baptized!
Was anyone water baptized twice in the Bible?
No one was water baptized twice in the Bible. Water baptism was always done one time when someone became a new believer. However, there are different types of baptisms mentioned throughout the New Testament. These types of baptisms we do receive on a progressive basis.
In the Bible, water baptism is always immediately after someone decides to follow Jesus, and when the new believer gets baptized we never see them going to get baptized again later.
However, there are different types of baptisms in the Bible that are different than water baptism. This confuses some people because they only know of water baptism, but the Bible clearly says there is more than one baptism.
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2).
Notice the verese above says “baptisms,” not “baptism.” It is plural, meaning more than one.
Here is a verse that confuses many, and it appears to contradict the verse above:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Which one is it? Is it one or multiple baptisms?
Well, let’s look at the context of the latter verse. The apostle Paul is writing to the Ephesian church and he is exhorting them to walk in unity with one another (Ephesians 4:1-3).
So the whole context is addressed to the church as a whole. So these verses are only a statement of fact within the context of the body of Christ.
I know that may be confusing so let me explain it this way…
“There is one body” Well, there is more than one body. There is billions of people on this earth and everyone has a physical body, and they all have some form of organization they are a part of. But this is referring to the body of Christ.
“And one Spirit” Well there are many spirits in this world; humans spirits, demonic spirits, angelic spirits, etc. But this is referring to the Holy Spirit that is given to the church.
“One hope of your calling” We can hope for many things; better job, better health, nicer boss, etc. But this is referring to the hope the church has in Christ that one day we will become like Him.
“One Lord” There are many lords; bosses, CEOs, government officials, etc. But this is referring to the church’s Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“One faith” There are many faiths; muslim, budhist, satanist, etc. There is also many ways a Christian can express faith; faith for a miracle, faith for a prayer to be answered, faith for a promise to come to pass, etc. But this is referring to the faith the Church lives by: the faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.
Finally, “One baptism” Well there are many baptisms; baptism in the Holy Spirit, baptism in fire, etc. But this is referring to water baptism, when the new believer is baptized into Jesus Christ and becomes a part of the family of God.
If this is new to you, and you want to know more about the different baptisms, I have many articles that cover them each in-depth. Here are a few of them: Water Baptism (A Complete Study), Baptism in the Holy Spirit (In-Depth Study), and What is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Fire?
Is being baptized twice a sin?
Generally, being baptized twice is not a sin, but it can be a sin if it is done in unbelief. For example, if you get baptized multiple times because you are not sure the first one cleansed you enough, then that would be a sin. But if you are baptized twice due to the fact that you didn’t have sincere repentance the first time, then, of course, this is not a sin.
I’m not sure if you noticed by now, but water baptism is all about sincere repentance. If there is no sincere repentance the first time someone gets baptized, then the person should get baptized again as soon as they have true repentance.
Of course, this is not a sin. Having a desire to be right with God is not evil in any way!
However, if someone has a sincere desire for God but they are continually getting rebaptized because they feel as though the first, second, and third one wasn’t effective, then this would be a sin.
The reason being is it is not done in faith and everything that is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
The Bible consistently shows us that baptism is a one-time event, except for certain exceptions. So if someone is getting baptized over and over again just cause they feel like it, then this is a person who is walking in unbelief to God’s Word.
Their sin is not the multiple baptisms, but rather the unbelief that is causing them to be rebaptized.
So, if you have been baptized on your own faith, and you had sincere repentance, your baptism was valid and you do not need to be rebaptized.
How many times should you be baptized?
In short, believers should only be baptized once. The Bible is clear that baptism should be done immediately following genuine repentance. However, as we mentioned in this article, there are times for someone to get rebaptized.
Every time we look at a conversion in the Book of Acts we see the same pattern. The pattern is usually; (1) repentance, (2) water baptism, and (3) receiving the Holy Spirit.
After these three take place, we never see someone get rebaptized, nor do we see someone receive the Holy Spirit again or renew their repentance. This is because the book of Acts is not meant to be a detailed record of the early church conversions, but rather an overview of how the early church grew and flourished.
Another reason we don’t see the early church getting rebaptized is because they didn’t have all of the false doctrines that we have now. There was no infant baptism, nor were there people who got baptized before they repented of their sin.
The book of Acts is meant to be studied as an example and pattern of how we should lead people to Christ, get them baptized in water and the Spirit.
And the pattern that the book of Acts gives us is when someone repents of their sin, they get baptized immediately, and then they don’t get rebaptized.
Here are some examples:
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.” (Acts 8:12)
“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:5-6)
As you can see, in the early church when someone repented of their sin, they immediately got baptized. And we never read anywhere that these individuals needed to be rebaptized.
Reasons you should get baptized again
Here is a list of the reasons that someone should get baptized again:
- If you were baptized as an infant or a young child who did not understand true repentance.
- If you got baptized out of obligation, or peer pressure, and not because of sincere repentance toward God and faith toward Christ.
- If you walked away from God for a long time, then I would recommend that you get baptized again and rededicate your life back to God.
- If you did not understand, nor have, true repentance in your heart when you were baptized.
- If you were not baptized with full immersion into water, but only sprinkled with water, then you need to be rebaptized. Because baptism is full immersion. See Water Baptism (A Complete Study).
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