From time to time we get the honor of celebrating baptisms at SixEight Church. Baptism is a wonderful thing.
Our basic understanding of baptism is that it is an outward expression of an internal commitment to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It’s making public what we have already decided in our hearts.
We don’t see baptism as being something that brings salvation, as that is the work Jesus did for us on the cross, once for all mankind. Because of this, we Admit that we are sinners in need of a savior, put our Belief in him as the lamb of God who died to pay the atoning price for our sins and then Commit our lives to following Him by repenting (which means to turn away) from the life we led. When we’ve made that decision, we get baptized to show the world we are now to be identified with Jesus and His cross. (If you want to know more about what it means to follow God, read this.)
Being baptized is an outward expression of an inward surrender. It is for the person who has chosen to believe in the work Jesus did for them on the cross, overcoming the power of death, hell, sin and the grave through His resurrection and covering us in His righteousness.
As a church, we practice baptism because that is one of the explicit commands Jesus gave us as His followers, to go into the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Being baptized is, in a sense, going public with your belief and faith in Jesus Christ. You are declaring to the world that you are a follower of Christ. Your former way of life has been put to death, you have turned away from willfully sinning against God and are now submitting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit for your life.
Baptism is a symbol that depicts several significant aspects of our faith:
- It is a visual representation of Christ’ death and resurrection.
- It shows a unity with Christ as one of his followers.
- It represents the new life in Christ in which we now walk.
- It shows the washing away of sin that happened with Christ’s death and resurrection.
There is much debate about the significance baptism plays in the role of Salvation in the life of the believer. It is important to understand that in some way, baptism is a significant part of the process that God uses to sanctify and encourage his followers. However, it is important to understand that Baptism is not what saves. Though there is something significant that happens at baptism, the act of baptism is not the act of saving grace. Instead it is a part of the grace we receive in sanctification, (being made into Christ’s likeness). As a result of baptism we look a little more like Christ and a little less like the self we have put to death.
One question we often receive is, should a person be rebaptized? The answer to that depends on your state of belief when you were first baptized. For isntance, if you were baptized as an infant then your faith was not yet your own and yes you should be rebaptized. However, if you were truly following Christ at the time you were baptized, then you don’t need to be rebaptized. A persons belief is what makes a baptism. So, if you weren’t believing when you were baptized, then you need to be rebaptized.
Another thing to consider are the things that might keep you from being baptized. There are two in particular that might keep you from taking this step.
First, you might be afraid. But fear should not be something that keeps you from following Christ in this way. Fear is not an acceptable excuse for not getting baptized, because that is a sign that we haven’t truly given ourselves over to the power of Christ.
Second, you might feel like you’re not good enough yet. Our answer to that is, if it depended on us being ready to be baptized, no one would ever get baptized. We get baptized because we believe in the work Jesus did on our behalf, not the work we are trying to do for ourselves. It is not dependent on our righteousness, but on the fact that we are covered in the righteousness of Christ. We don’t see perfection as necessary for an individual to be ready to be baptized. If we needed to be perfect before we were baptized, no one would ever get baptized.
Why should you be baptized?
We should be baptized because Christ commanded us to:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We should be baptized as evidence of being a disciple.
“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
If you’re ready to take that step, or want to talk about taking that step, get in touch with us soon!
If you’re wanting to get baptized, contact the church office to find out more.