Baptism is one of the simplest things in the Bible, but it has become so complicated and convoluted over hundreds of years. Baptism is simply an expression of our trust in Jesus Christ, and is accompanied by faith. It is a symbol of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. When we are baptized, we are publically proclaiming our allegiance to Jesus. Romans 6:1-4 says
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? 3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 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.
In baptism our sins are buried in the water, entirely forgiven, and the power of sin is defeated. When we rise out of the water we rise to a new life committed to living with Jesus as his follower.
If you have never been baptized by immersion (going completely under the water) I urge you to consider taking this ever-important step in your faith.
Why should I be baptized?
Baptism is not only a command but also an invitation. It is our invitation to participate in the new life Jesus died to give us. It is an outward demonstration of an inner declaration to follow Jesus.
Is baptism required for salvation?
This is another very confusing and complicated issue in people’s hearts. Just last weekend I talked to someone who was convinced that if you aren’t baptized you aren’t saved. The challenge with that, is that theologically and practically it doesn’t make sense. If baptism was a requirement of salvation, it would make Jesus a liar. He told the thief on the cross – “you will be with me today in paradise”. The thief did not get off the cross to be baptized first.
The bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only one who saves us. Acts 4 tells us that salvation is found in no other than Jesus. “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11,12
We encourage people to believe, repent, confess and then be baptized as an outward declaration.
When should I be baptized?
Many times in the book of Acts (which is the history of the first 30 years of the early church) people were saved and baptized the same day. “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all”. Acts 2:41
Baptism is not something you arrive at. You don’t earn the right to be baptized. You don’t get better to get baptized. You simply believe, and then proclaim that faith through baptism. Baptism at Living Hope is done spontaneously. Everyone that has been baptized in the last 8 years (which is now over 8000 people), has been fully immersed in the water in their clothes. We provide towels, and shirts as needed.
What if I was baptized as a child?
In the Bible, baptism is always about a person making a choice for themselves to follow Jesus Christ. There is not one occurrence in the New Testament of a child being baptized. At Living Hope we make it a practice to personally talk to every child before they get in the pool, so we can make sure they understand what they are doing. I want to respectfully say that if you were baptized as a child, it was more for your parents than for you. Although it is admirable to want to baptize a young child or baby, that baby is not capable of understanding the meaning of baptism. The concept of infant baptism is not biblical, but dedicating children to God is. – I did that with my three children, and we offer child dedication here at Living Hope. If you were baptized as a child, I would encourage you to consider being baptized for yourself. Being baptized as an adult is not a sign of disrespect, but rather a fulfillment of their prayers. Be thankful for the heritage of your parents, but don’t neglect to make your personal pledge of faith to God in being baptized.
What about sprinkling?
The original Greek word for baptism is “baptizo”. It literally means to “dip or immerse”. There are other Greek words that mean sprinkle or pour, so if the intent was to be sprinkled, the authors would most definitely have used those words. Full immersion was the model used in the early church, and only in the last several hundred years has sprinkling been an acceptable form of baptism in some churches.
Can I help baptize my family or friends?
We encourage families to be baptized together, and baptize each other. There is nothing more special than to see a dad or mom baptize their children. Many times a friend who helped lead you to Christ or invited you to church will want to be part of this, we strongly encourage their involvement in that situation.
The one thing I would encourage you to do if you are planning to get baptized is to invite your friends and loved ones, so they can celebrate with you, and also hear the good news about God’s love for them.
The last question and perhaps the most crucial for you is “Why won’t you be baptized?” Jesus sets the example for us when John the Baptist baptized him.
“But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. Matthew 3:14-15
If Jesus thought baptism was important why would it not be important to each of us?
Colossians 2:12 says “for you were buried with Christ when you were baptized and with him were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God who rose Christ from the dead.”