Few events in the Christian life carry as much significance and symbolism as baptism. Along with the Lord’s Supper, Jesus Christ ordained baptism a special experience for the church to celebrate. These events give every Christian a unique opportunity to obey, worship and love God. Many, however, have questions concerning the biblical meaning and instructions concerning baptism. This information is designed to answer several of these questions:
Baptism is a public proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is an outward sign of something that has already taken place within you.
God created each of us to know and glorify Him, but our sinful, fallen nature is contrary to His holy divine nature. We are separated from God because of the sinful nature that we are born with and also, the sinful behavior that we engage in. Scripture teaches that the penalty or “wages” of this sin is death – eternal separation from God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23, NIV)
No human effort, including baptism, can compensate for our sinful state. Jesus Christ lived amongst us, died on the cross and was raised from the dead. His death paid the penalty of sin for all those who believe in Him. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we receive God’s gift of forgiveness and a new life in Christ.
Baptism is a public testimony that richly symbolizes these spiritual truths. Going into the water we publicly identify with Jesus’ death and burial. Coming up out of the water identifies us with His glorious resurrection and symbolizes our new life in Christ.
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
(Romans 6:3-5, NIV)
Since baptism is a public profession of the Christian’s personal faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial act on our behalf, only those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should be baptized.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
(Galatians 3:26-27, NIV)
There are two main reasons why every person who has professed faith in Jesus Christ should be baptized
1. Jesus Christ commanded that His followers be baptized. Jesus is both Savior and Lord for every Christian. Baptism provides an opportunity for every believer to publicly submit to Christ’s leadership.
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 (Matthew 28:19, NIV)
2. The early church, under the leadership of the apostles, modeled it. The very men that walked with the Lord thought it inconceivable that someone could profess faith in Jesus Christ and not be baptized. It was important to them and it should, therefore, be important to us.
But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
(Acts 8:12, NIV)
After experiencing God’s saving grace and responding through faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and after fully understanding the significance of baptism.
After reading this, do you feel that you understand what baptism is and the significance that it holds in the life of the believer?
When you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Since baptism is a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, it should be performed after one understands the Gospel, experiences God’s grace and responds to it through faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism performed prior to these three things, would be representative of something other than new life in Christ and fall short of the testimony that it could or should be.
When you understand the significance of baptism. In Acts 8:36, we read that Philip shared the Gospel of Christ to an Ethiopian Eunuch. The man’s response was an immediate desire to be baptized.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”
(Acts 8:36-37 NIV)
Understanding the significance and meaning of cause the heart of the true believer to yearn for the opportunity. Without such an understanding, the act itself can be ordinary and fall short of what God intended for this sacred act.
The word “baptize” refers to some form of immersion. Therefore, Clovis Christian Church practices baptism by immersion. We recognize, however, that the essence of baptism is a public proclamation of faith and new life in Christ and therefore Clovis Christian Church accepts some alternative modes of baptism if representative of sound faith and new life in Christ.
What is baptism? Baptism is a public proclamation of faith and new life in Jesus Christ. It is an outward public testimony of an inward invisible transformation.
• I understand that I am not saved by baptism, but rather I wish to be baptized because I am saved.
Who should be baptized? All who have experienced God’s saving grace and responded through faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
• I have repented of my sin and have accepted the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Why should Christians be baptized? Out of obedience to Jesus’ commands as recorded in the New Testament and evidenced in the early church.
• I desire to obey all that God has commanded me.
When should Christians be baptized? After experiencing God’s saving grace and responding through faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and after fully understanding the significance of baptism.
• After reading this, I feel that I understand what baptism is and the significance that it holds in the life of the believer.
How should Christians be baptized? Clovis Christian practices baptism by immersion, but affirms some alternative modes of baptisms done for the right reason (faith and new life in Christ) at the right time (following conversion).
• If you wish to be baptized by immersion as a testimony to your faith, please contact Pastor Mark. He will contact you with the details.
If you have additional questions concerning baptism or the Christian faith, please contact Pastor Mark.