Some Christians who have already been baptized biblically choose to be rebaptized as a “spiritual refresher” or an act of rededication. It’s common for Christians who visit Israel to want to be rebaptized in the Jordan River, so they can experience baptism in the same place where Jesus was baptized (see Mark 1:9). Is there anything wrong with being rebaptized in such a case?
First, let’s define what baptism is. Simply put, baptism is the first order of obedience for the Christian. It is a public profession of the believer’s faith in Jesus and a testament to being born again. It is his or her public identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism consists of full-body immersion in water, after salvation, in obedience to God. Though baptism is not a requirement to go to heaven, it is a part of Christian growth and service (see Acts 2:37–38, 41; 8:12; 18:8; Romans 6:3–4; 1 Peter 3:21).
The Bible presents baptism as a one-time event, as it signifies salvation, a one-time event. Nowhere in Scripture do we see an example of Christians being baptized multiple times.
In addition to the identification aspect of baptism, there are other benefits of being baptized. One is that baptism strengthens our faith. Romans 6:4–7 says, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, a that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” Baptism reminds us that our old sin nature was crucified, and that we have been given new life. That’s a big boost when the world is bringing us down. It also reminds us that we are no longer slaves to sin because Jesus overcame sin and death (cf. Romans 8:2). When the temptations come, remembering our baptism can remind us that we don’t have to give in.
Another benefit to baptism is that it typically joins one to a local body of believers. Acts 2:41 shows that the people who heard Peter’s preaching and were saved on the Day of Pentecost “were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” There is no such thing as a “Lone Ranger” Christian; God’s plan is for His people to be connected to a local body of believers. A local church provides us with spiritual resources, leadership, guidance, and accountability. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, our baptism reminds us that we are not alone in the faith; we are part of the family of God, comprised of other believers in Christ, baptized in the same way.
One more benefit of baptism is that it encourages us to share Christ with others. The Great Commission was one of the last commands that Jesus gave to His disciples. He told them that they were to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Our baptism should be a reminder that there are more who yet need to be saved.
Choosing to be rebaptized may be permissible, but it doesn’t really add any spiritual benefit. Assuming one’s motivations are godly, being rebaptized is not sinful, but neither is it necessary. Spiritual refreshment can come by simply meditating on what one’s baptism meant. Those who seek refreshment can find it through confession of sin, repentance, prayer, Bible reading, fellowship with other believers, and the transformation that comes “by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).