WHAT DOES BAPTISM MEAN?
The Bible presents baptism as an outward sign of faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Christian baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Jesus, declaring the believer’s faith in and identification with their crucified, buried, and risen Savior. Baptism is a visible sermon of the gospel of Jesus Christ, identifying the Christian with his death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism does not save and is not “necessary” for salvation. (Matt. 28:19–20; Rom. 6:1–11; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:12).
As a symbol, baptism illustrates a number of significant realities:
1. Christ’s death and resurrection
2. The disciple’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection
3. The new life in which a disciple walks
4. Cleansing and washing away of sin
HOW IS SOMEONE BAPTIZED?
The Greek word used for baptism in the New Testament, baptizo, means “to plunge, dip, or immerse in water.” For example, in the secular ancient Greek, this word was used to explain things such as the sinking of a ship that had been submerged in water. In baptism, the believer is immersed beneath the water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We baptize Christians in the same way as Jesus: immersed in water and then brought up out of the water (Mark 1:10; Acts 8:34–39).
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
The New Testament consistently demonstrates that those who are baptized are people who have put their trust in Jesus and turned from sin. John the Baptizer called people to repentance before they were baptized (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3). Baptism is reserved solely for those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In addition, Jesus commanded that all Christians should be baptized (Matt. 28:19). His apostles also commanded that all Christians be baptized (Acts 2:38).
We practice what is called “believer’s” baptism, which means we only baptize those who believe and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The desire to be baptized should be motivated by a desire to glorify God in faithful obedience. Any other motivation (to join a particular local church, to please a friend or family member, etc.) should not be the ultimate reason for seeking to be baptized.
A believer should be baptized:
1. To obey the commands of Christ
2. To evidence that a person is a disciple of Christ
3. To follow the example of Christ