Baptism is a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ. It is about “going public” with your faith, and it’s the next step after your salvation.
For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. —Romans 6:4 (NLT)
What is Baptism?
Baptism literally means to “dip under water.” It carries the picture of clothing being dipped or immersed into a dye. A cloth is dipped into a vat long enough to soak in the color of the dye. Once this process is done the cloth is pulled out of the vat now resembling the color of the dye.
When Jesus died on the cross, His blood was shed for mankind. His blood cleansed sin’s curse. Baptism is a symbol demonstrating that a believer in Jesus has been buried in Christ, raised to a new life in Him, and desires to grow to become more like Him.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! —2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)
When a believer in Jesus Christ gets baptized, he is proclaiming a commitment to follow Jesus as Lord. It demonstrates a washing away and repentance from sin. Baptism is a sign to others that one’s allegiance is pledged to God, not self. It identifies one with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. A believer does this in order to take on the likeness and attitude of Jesus — just like dye colors garments. When one is baptized he is choosing to take on the character and traits of Jesus.
Key Point: Baptism does not make you a believer, it demonstrates that you already believe. It is important to understand that baptism does not “save” you. You are “saved” only by your faith in Jesus.
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward commitment.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. —Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
Why is Baptism Important?
Baptism is important because it symbolizes or proclaims what Jesus has done in your life. It is a sign or covenant distinguishing a believer. The old, sinful life is buried and the new life — abundant, eternal life, the life Jesus Christ offers in God (John 10:10), is made alive inside you! When one is brought out of the water at baptism, it symbolizes this new life with Christ.
When you are baptized, it demonstrates your old sinful nature being buried; it no longer has control over you. Now you are in Christ. Jesus Christ is your new life; He gave you the Holy Spirit to help you walk in His ways. You receive your new life at the time of your salvation. Baptism simply demonstrates publicly that inner conversion and desire to live for the Lord.
When Should I be Baptized?
As soon as you have decided to receive Christ into your life, and when you understand what baptism is, what it demonstrates, you can and should be baptized. There is no reason to delay. If you wait until you are “perfect” you will never be ready.
“Why do we baptize by full immersion in water?”
Full immersion in water best illustrates the meaning that the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 6:1-7.
As we stand in the water we make a promise or a vow to God to die to our old ways. Going under the water symbolized uniting with or joining Jesus in burial.
Coming up out of the water symbolizes a new life of union with Jesus. We are raised from the grave of water. The new life does not mean that all of a sudden everything is different, but that we have chosen a new direction — one of following Jesus.
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