Christians, churches and denominations make a big deal out of baptism. Well, it IS a big deal, but we tend to make the wrong things the big deals. In all actuality, the big deal is the new believer’s step to put their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life! During the time of Jesus’ ministry, those born of the Jewish faith did not believe they needed baptism because they were descendants of Abraham. At that same time, John the Baptist began his public ministry, proclaiming that everyone was in need of baptism. Although Jesus was sinless in nature, he was baptized by John as a way of identifying with the people. Later, in Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells the disciples to baptize those who respond to the gospel: “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.” All who believe in Jesus and desire to follow Him as disciples are to be baptized as a witness to their identification with His death, burial, and resurrection.
Baptism is a sacrament…a practice put in place by Jesus forever A sacrament is quite simply a sacred practice, and as such important to know why it is deemed to be sacred. In the case of baptism (and communion), all Christians recognize it as sacred because Jesus instituted it. And when you read the surrounding context in Scripture, it is evident that he intended the church to practice them regularly and forever (Matthew 28:8; Luke 22:19)
Baptism is not regenerative…salvation comes by faith alone in Jesus alone Scriptures do not teach that the act of baptism is regenerative – that it is the cause for a person’s salvation, their eternal life. Instead we follow Colossians 2:12 where it is clear that our reconciliation with God comes by faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 2:12).
Baptism is a sign and symbol of Jesus’ saving grace…and your receiving of it A sign is something by means of which something else is made known. Baptism represents and reminds us of the gospel: Letting go and being forgiven of the old, and instead living for Jesus.The symbol of baptism is a moving dramatization of one’s new and permanent personal association with Jesus; in Jesus we are no longer subject to the death penalty of sin, so in an ironic twist we “die to” the powerful grip of sin and its resultant spiritual death. Yet we are also powerfully “raised with” Jesus into an eternal relationship and presence with him (1 Peter 3:20-22; John 3:22-23).
Baptism is not essentially about the method or amount of water Immersion was the early church practice and a profound symbol of the burial and resurrection of Jesus and the believers’ association in it. If we have lots of water available we use it because Jesus and the early followers did. If we don’t have lots of water we don’t let the amount or method delay the urgency and desire of the obedient heart. We use as much water as we have to symbolize what Jesus did for us (Galatians 3:1-3, 26-28; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 2:6-13; Titus 3:5-7; Hebrews 10:19-23; 1 Peter 1:3-9, 20-22; Exodus 30:18; Ezekiel 36:25; Joel 2:28-29).
Baptism is a personal proclamation of faith in Jesus…and a church celebration We encourage new believers to be baptized without delay, not to secure salvation, but as an immediate and outward obedience demonstrating an inward change and as a vow of commitment to Jesus. We practice it publicly so that the church can celebrate along with God and the angels, while hoping that the world will watch and wonder… (Acts 8:26-29, 9:18, 10:47-48, 16:14-15, 16:31-33, 18:8).
Infant dedications vs. baptisms Rather than baptize, we dedicate infants and toddlers to God into the earthly fellowship of the local church. Once a child/person places their faith in Christ to join the eternal fellowship of Christ we baptize them (as Spiritual infants).