You will always find what you truly seek.
We hope this guide will help you understand how baptism fits into your life.
May God bless you on your journey.
What is it?
Baptism is a rite of purification according to the dictionary. It is interesting to see some of the synonyms for baptism: initiation, introduction, debut, beginning, inductions, rite, ceremony,… so we see that baptism is really about a new start; it is a new beginning. In many ways baptism is a rite of passage to something different and new on our spiritual journey, it is the result of a defining moment in our spiritual development. Christian author Alger Fitch has described baptism as a “border crossing.”
The person who has been baptized publicly declares that they have crossed a border. They have left behind and abandoned the dark choices of the past in favor of a bright future in Christ.
IS IT NECESSARY?
Do you love God?
Do you love Christ?
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14.15)
He said that a man’s “rebirth” is essential to entering the kingdom of heaven – “Except a man be born of the water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven” (John 3.5). Baptism is part of the law of the kingdom. Jesus charged his disciples to “…Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28.18-20). This Great Commission is a foundational stone of the faith. To question the necessity of baptism is to question God himself – the King.
The Lord asks, “And now, what are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” Acts 22.16 Baptism is a demonstration of our love for our Master and King; this, in turn, becomes a testimony to others. It is a response of obedience.
Jesus was sinless but he still made his own baptism a priority. He walked some seventy miles to be baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist, in order to “fulfill all righteousness.” Matthew 3.13-15. If Jesus made it a priority for himself, it is certainly necessary for the rest of humanity, all of whom are sinners!
It is commanded and necessary to enter the kingdom of heaven.
There are other reasons why baptism is so important.
Baptism results from faith and repentance and is bound with forgiveness and salvation.
In Mark 16.16 we read these words, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved”. Later, in the book of Acts, we see even more explanation of baptism’s tie to Christianity.
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 Notice that it is not a request but a command.
“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them…” Acts 19.1-6.
When we are baptized, we connect with God in a powerful way through Christ. Romans 6.3ff says, “…all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. 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. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. ”
Baptism must have been included in the complete gospel message, because in Acts 8.35:36, after Philip taught the Ethiopian, he responded to the word and at the first opportunity asked to be baptized. Baptism is to be done in a timely way i.e. made a priority in the life of the believer.
The Bible says that baptism saves us. In 1 Peter 3:20-21 declares, “In it [NOAH’S ARK], only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt from the body but the response of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” Baptism tells the world that you have pledged yourself to the service of a new master. When we are baptized, we are pledging our loyalty to a new king. It is that fresh start for which we’ve been looking.
If you look at 1 Corinthians 10 2, you will see that baptism is our version of the exodus by the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. The Israelites left their bondage of slavery and had to pass through the waters of the Red Sea to get away from such oppression and they came out on the other side to follow God. The Egyptian army was subsequently washed away as the forceful waters of the sea released upon them. In baptism, we leave our bondage of oppressive sin and we pass through the water to follow God. The water washes away our oppression as we leave the waters of baptism.
Ephesians 4:5 tells us that there is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
In other words, there is only one baptism to be had.
Hebrews 10.22 says, “…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” As priests of God, we must be washed for our service to be acceptable.
GOD DOESN’T NEED US – HE WANTS US.
He loves us with an everlasting love. He loves us so much, in fact, that he sent his only son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice on our behalf, so that our sins might be forgiven when we accept Jesus as both Lord and Savior. The Bible says that “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy,
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5
If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God,
then you should be baptized.
You are the “chosen one of God” and should be baptized.
The Bible is clear that we have to make the decision of baptism on our own. For that reason, we don’t baptize infants. We have to have the capacity to repent, and we have to be able to understand what sin and faith actually are. We must be sorry for those sins. Usually we begin to consider baptism when a child is at least 9 or 10 years old. This is the time in their lives when they begin to understand concepts like faith and sin developmentally. Their minds begin to embrace the possibility of things they cannot see – less concrete thinking. The ideal time to come to Christ is from 9-13 years old, the reason being is that around 12-13 is usually the time when kids reach what is known as “the age of accountability.” In other words, it is a developmental milestone when a child can begin taking responsibility for his own mistakes, sins, … It is a natural rite of passage for an adolescent to make their first “grown up” decision when they come to Christ. Perhaps you are older, though.
There is no greater time to be baptized than right now! Baptism is pleasing to our God and because it is a pledge of loyalty to our king, to reject baptism is to reject God’s authority at a personal level.
So, if you believe Jesus is Lord of all and Savior, the very Son of God; if you believe that he died and rose on the third day to allow you to have freedom from your sins; then you should be baptized. There are no required classes to take before your baptism. Your decision to be baptized is based solely on your heart’s conviction.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
BAPTISM IS BY IMMERSION!
Think about it logically for a moment – baptism is about identifying with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Being immersed under the water completely symbolizes Christ’s burial and coming out of the water represents Christ’s resurrection and our future resurrection.
There are many words that are referred to as “baptism” in the Scriptures. Many Christian denominations baptize in a variety of ways. However, the word for baptism in the Bible is always the word “baptidzo” when it refers to salvation. The word “baptidzo” in the original language of koine Greek means to immerse. If you pour water, it’s not being buried; if you sprinkle, it’s not being buried; if you wash, it’s not being buried. The idea is the identification with Christ in his burial and resurrection.
WHO WILL BAPTIZE ME?
There are no biblical restrictions to who can baptize, except that the other person must be a baptized believer themselves. Also, there is no particular place or time that one needs to be baptized. Some like to wait for a worship service to be baptized, but that is not required. It is always nice for baptisms to take place in the worship service, simply because others in the congregation will rejoice with you. But “the sooner the better” is always the best approach. It would be very appropriate to ask one of the church leaders about your choice of whom to baptize you.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
LOOK AT WHAT YOU’RE DOING IN THIS PROCESS:
You make the decision you need Jesus in your life and you want a relationship with your heavenly Father so bad you can taste it, you go to one in authority such as a church leader. By doing so, you are dying to self. You will repeat the “great confession” made by Peter in the New Testament, professing to the world that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. That confession simply says, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and I accept Him as my personal Lord and Savior.” At that point, you have given up legal and royal right to be your own person in favor of allowing God to lead you through Jesus and the Holy Spirit that will live in you. You change clothes into a baptismal robe or swimming gear, whichever or both, not just because you’re going to get wet, but because it was the burial custom of the people in the time of Christ to change the clothes of the people who had died into clothes they would wear to sleep in at night, usually a tunic or gown of some sort.
As you step into the water, you will be greeted by the one chosen to baptize you. He at all times represents God, your authority. The “baptizer” will then speak words to identify what is being done, usually SOMETHING LIKE, “YOUR NAME, BECAUSE OF YOUR CONFESSION OF FAITH, THAT YOU ACCEPT JESUS AS BOTH YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR, I NOW BAPTIZE YOU IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO BE BURIED WITH CHRIST AND RAISED TO THE NEWNESS OF LIFE.” It is then that the baptizer will hold on to you with authority (usually the back of the neck and you hold onto their other hand which is covering your nose). The moment of baptism is a time you are submitting to the authority of Christ; you are at that moment dead to your “self.” The Bible says to “be” baptized — that means you must allow baptism to be done, not do it yourself. The one baptizing you is the one “burying” you. When he lowers you into the water, you are being buried just like Christ. When you arise, you will be reborn from your “tomb” – resurrected like Christ with the promise that you will someday be resurrected as well.
From that moment on, you will have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, and He will guide you from the inside. You are baptized and a fellow brother or sister in Christ. You have a new Father, new Lord, new Master, new family in Christ, and a new lease on life – literally!
THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY.
Your spiritual walk does not stop after baptism – it begins. The rest of your life will be spent submitting to God through the power of the Holy Spirit and getting rid of your old ways in favor of new ways that you will learn. It will then be our responsibility as your church family to help teach you in the faith and how to live that Christian life in a world that doesn’t think too much of Christians. And you will be teaching us too in many ways; maybe not intentionally, but just because none of us have “arrived” and we’re all in the same process of cleaning out the worldly “stuff” so we can be cleaner, brighter, and better than each day before.