- Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics – Sign Up Now!
- The Father, Son & the Holy Spirit – Understanding The Trinity
- Father God and His Heart For Us – 30 Bible Study Series
- Who is Jesus? Answering a Question That Millions Have Asked
- Who is The Holy Spirit? – You Have a Personal Helper!
- Spirit, Soul and Body – 30 Bible Study Series
- What is Sin? And How to Overcome It!
- What Did Jesus Do For Me?
- How to Follow Jesus – 6 Practical Ways! [30 Bible Basics]
- Water Baptism – Why, How & Most Asked Questions
- How to Activate Your Faith [30 Bible Basics]
- The What, Where & How to Pray Effectively
- What is Worship? 7 Stages – 30 Bible Basics
- How to Read the Bible and What Matters the Most – 30 Bible Basics
- Is the Bible True? – 30 Bible Basics
- What is Christianity & Where Did It Come From? [Understanding Christian History]
- How to Know The Will of God?
- 5 Ways to Receive the Power of the Holy Spirit
- What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
- All You Need to Know About Speaking in Tongues
- Red Hot Temptation!
- 7 Keys for Fruitful Witnessing
- Spiritual Warfare – Weapons of a Believer
- The Five Offices of the Church – 30 Bible Basics
- Living the Life, Walking the Talk
- Serving the Body of Christ – Who, How & 4 CheckPoints
- How Important is the Fellowship of Believers?
- Why Give? – Tithes, Offerings & First Fruits – 30 Bible Basics
- Full Truth About the Second Coming of Jesus
- Finally, then, Brothers and Sisters, We Urge You
The Bible declares in I John 4:10, ‘God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ What a picture of His extravagant love! In the first segment of this study, we attempted to delve deeper into understanding the nature of God and there our eyes beheld His glorious majesty, His astounding power and unparalleled holiness.
Then in the second segment, we looked into our own natures, and had a glimpse of the depravity and wretchedness of our sinful state. The beauty however lies in understanding the bridge that exists between the two drastically different segments; in realizing the extreme measures to which this awesome and holy God went, just to redeem and ransom you and I from the ugly mess we were sinking in – Sin.
In this third segment now, we will study about our response to this remarkable gift that God has given us – Salvation.
Baptism – Introduction:
A baptism service is one of my favourite services to be in. Being in the service always reminds me of that day nearly fifteen years ago when I made those exact vows to my lover and Lord – Jesus Christ. Now, after all these years, I understand well all the symbolism and meaning that is beautifully woven into the service; but when I think back, I’m not really sure I knew completely what everything meant at the time.
And this is often the case with many new believers. On the other hand, those of us who have been in the Church for several years, know all too well the many disputes and differences in opinion that arise pertaining to who should be baptized, how they should be baptized, in whose name should they be baptized, etc., and the list goes on!
Much controversy and debate has clouded the importance of this doctrine in the Church. According to Hebrews 6:2, the doctrine of baptism is part of the foundation, which the Christian life must be built. So for the benefit of both the amateurs and veterans, let’s look to the Word of God and attempt to understand this beautiful ordinance of the Church.
What is Water Baptism?
The word ‘baptism’ is derived from a Greek term – ‘baptisma’ or ‘baptizo,’ meaning, ‘to immerse, to dip, to submerge’. To baptize something means to put it completely under the water. Therefore in water baptism, the believer is put completely under water, then immediately raised out of it. As we already know baptism is given to those who have chosen to become Christians, therefore many people think that baptism is a magical ceremony that makes them Christians. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Baptism is the commission of Jesus. Bible says in Matt 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
The apostles in the early church followed this commission and preached the Gospel with power. The people were convicted almost immediately to be baptized of water.
You don’t become a Christian through baptism; you are baptized because you have become a Christian by believing that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior. Water baptism is only as important as the believer believes it to be. Water baptism is for our benefit, not God’s. It does not ‘do’ anything to us to make us any more acceptable to God. It is only a symbolic act of obedience with no extra power to save.
What does water baptism represent then?
1. Water baptism represents your allegiance to Christ. It is an act of faith and obedience to the commands of Christ. Jesus said, ‘If you love me, you will obey what I command.’ And He has commanded baptism in Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20. He did not command something He did not fulfill first; Jesus Himself was baptized. Not because He was sinner, but in order to humble Himself in obedience to identify with us and give us an example to follow (Mark 1:9).
2. Water baptism represents your personal commitment to Christ in a public setting. Biblically speaking, baptism is merely an outward symbol of an inward change that has already occurred. It is declaring to the world and the devil that you no longer belong to it; you now belong to Christ. Remember, it is not something we must do to impress God, but something to impress on our mind and to others, what has taken place in us.
3. It represents a clear break with your past. When we are baptized, we are actually saying goodbye to our old life (self) that has passed away, and begin life as new creation who is now IN Christ (II Corinthians 5:17). By becoming a Christian, you have been set free from your old master, Satan, and now belong to Jesus and you need to behave that way. Water baptism represents a point of separation between your old and new lives. It reminds you that you cannot keep living like you used to.
4. According to the Bible, water baptism for the Christian symbolizes his/her death, burial and resurrection with Christ. Unless the person really believes they died, there is no need for a burial. When you became a Christian, the Bible says you became a new creation; your old life has passed away (II Corinthians 5:17). Water baptism helps demonstrate the reality of this spiritual truth that the old ‘you’ has died. ‘Therefore we were buried with him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.’ – Romans 6:4. Therefore through your baptism you are publicly declaring that you have died to your sinful old life.
Answers to some common questions:
The only closest mention is of a child dedication with an offering unto God. (Ref Luke 2:22:23)
2. Why was Jesus baptized?
Jesus had no sin in him to be water baptised but still he went to fulfil the commission that was placed on John by the Holy Spirit.3. What about the criminal on the cross? He did not get baptized?
4. Is Baptism to join a church or become a pentecostal by denomination?
Ans: This idea that if you are baptized in a certain Church, you are forever committed to it was neither taught by Jesus nor the apostles. The Bible says, “you were baptized into Christ” (Gal 3:27) and not into a Church.
It is true that every serious Christian must belong to a local church if one exists where he lives. However, being baptized by a particular pastor or elder does not obligate the person being baptized to remain in that particular local church. Nor is it right for pastors to demand such a commitment at the time of baptism, since this confuses the nature of the commitment of baptism, which is to Christ and not to a particular local church.
6. When is the right time to be baptized?