Every time a person enters into a new life with Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that all of heaven rejoices. Baptism is an outward proclamation of an inward reality that God has created new life within that person. Baptism is the new believer’s testimony to the public of his belonging to Jesus. As he is immersed beneath the waters, he is proclaiming that his old self, enslaved to unbelief and sin, has died. And as the believer is raised up out of the waters, he is proclaiming that his new self, freed from sin and death, has been raised in the resurrection of Jesus. He is proclaiming that he now belongs to Jesus.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” —Romans 6:4
WHY DO WE BAPTIZE?
We baptize because Jesus modeled it himself and made it part of His ministry and part of our mission. Simply put, we baptize because Jesus commanded us to; however, there is also purpose and wisdom in that command. Baptism provides a decisive, public way of taking a stand that Jesus has saved you, that you’re crazy about Him, and that you’re going to follow Him all the days of your life.
Essentially, you are publicly proclaiming three things in Baptism:
- To God
- Thank You for saving me. I’m Yours. Help me to live a life that shows Jesus to the world.
- To Believers
- Celebrate with me! Jesus has saved me! Remember when He saved you? Encourage me, help me, and keep me accountable to following Jesus.
- To Unbelievers
- I want you to know the Jesus that I know. If you see any change in my life, if you see anything good in my life, it’s not me- it’s Him! He wants you to know Him.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:19–20
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Baptism is an outward proclamation of faith, and is therefore only for believers. Our understanding of the Bible is that every baptism in the New Testament was preceded by confession of sin and repentance, which is something that neither an unbeliever nor an infant can do. Because baptism represents a union with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we believe only in baptism of believers.
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” —Galatians 3:27
WHAT DOES BAPTISM LOOK LIKE?
We believe that a physical submersion into the water is the best way to show the death and burial of the old self and that a physical immersion from the water best represents the new self being raised from the dead.
The word baptism in the Greek means dip or immerse. Going “into the water” and “coming up out of the water” are the common biblical language associated with baptism. Baptism by immersion was the universal practice of the early church.
“And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.” — Mark 1:10
DOES BAPTISM SAVE YOU?
We are saved solely by God’s grace applied to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Nothing we do can save us… our salvation is not a result of our works. We are, however, called to do good works and obey the commands of Jesus, baptism being one of them. So like all the other “good works,” we baptize and are baptized not in order to be saved, but because we are saved. Just because a Christian is not yet baptized doesn’t mean he isn’t a Christian.
Baptism is an outward demonstration of what has already occurred inside of us. Though baptism doesn’t save you, God is pleased when His child proclaims to the world that the salvation of Christ has come into his life.