by: Richelle Torres
What is baptism and why should I be baptized?
by Thad Williams, Missions and Community Engagement Pastor
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands us to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” But what exactly is baptism, and why should we baptize?
Baptism comes from the Greek word meaning “to dip” or “immerse” underwater. We find several examples of baptism throughout the New Testament. In fact, Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17).
Baptism is one of two ordinances given to the church (the other being the Lord’s Supper or communion). Both ordinances serve as reminders of what Christ has done for us. We observe the Lord’s Supper to remember His work on the cross. The bread representing His body that was broken for us and the wine (or juice) representing His blood that was shed for our sin (Matthew 26:26-29). Baptism represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
“Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive – right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.” Colossians 2:12-14 MSG
In baptism, by faith, we are united with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Furthermore, it also connects us to the body of Christ. Similar to the unity that comes with observing communion with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, there is a real sense of being joined with other believers through baptism, not just participating in an individual act of our own spiritual journey (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
Although baptism is for those who have made the decision to trust and follow Christ, it is important to note that baptism does not save us. It is a symbol, similar to a wedding ring. The wedding ring itself does not bind a husband and wife together. If he or she removes the ring, they are still married. We wear a wedding ring as a symbol of our commitment and devotion. In the same way, baptism is a picture of devotion and commitment to Christ. A wedding ring reminds us and tells others that we belong to someone special, just as baptism reminds us and others that we are devoted to Christ and belong to Him. Baptism is a public profession of our faith in Jesus. It is an act of obedience that announces to the world that we are followers of Christ. Think of it as a visual testimony!
Why should we be baptized?
We should be baptized because it is an act of obedience to what Jesus has commanded us to do. God’s Word clearly states that those who have been born again in Christ are to be baptized (Acts 2:38-41, 8:12; Matthew 28:18-20). Even Jesus was baptized before beginning His ministry on earth (Matthew 3:16).
We should be baptized because it unites us with Christ and His church.
We should be baptized because it is a powerful symbol of what Jesus has done for us. Baptism can be an evangelistic witness as it represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
We should be baptized because it is a public profession of our faith in Jesus. When we baptize people at Center Point Church, we ask them two important questions:
1) Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?
2) Are you ready to make Him the Lord of your life and follow Him the rest of your days?
The answers to these questions serve as a testimony and declaration of their commitment to Christ. Although our faith should be personal, it should not be private. Baptism is about going public with our faith. We need to tell the world about the hope we have found in Jesus!
If you would like to learn more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus or have questions about baptism, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior and you are ready to take the first step of obedience through believer’s baptism, click here to register for an upcoming baptism service!