1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.
2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.
3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.
We looked at these verses as a missionary to help decide whether our investigators were ready for baptism.
1) An individual must come forward with a repentant heart and spirit. To me, that means that one has to truly desire to become justified with God by casting off one’s sins. One cannot rationalize unrighteousness and be fully cleansed through baptism. Rationalization is the enemy of repentance.
2) An individual must bring forth fruit. For me, this means living consistent with one’s beliefs and conforming to the commandments of God. One can say that they will keep the commandments, but unless they do so before baptism, they will be unlikely to do so afterwards
3) Repentance must not merely be private but must also have a public dimension. That’s why the ordinance of baptism is a public ceremony involving witnesses. When we are publicly committed to a course of action, we are much more likely to follow through. Public repentance also makes our commitment seem so much more tangible.
4) An individual seeking baptism must understand from the getgo that he is making a lifelong commitment to serve God and participate in his Church. If individuals are baptized seeing baptism as an end rather than thebeginning of a journey, then they are unlikely to persist.