Baptism points back to the work of God, and forward to the life of faith. – J. Alec Motyer
The first act of obedience for someone who has given their life to Christ is to be baptised in water. The early church was marked by those who believed and were baptised. Listen to what Peter told the crowd after he had shared the good news about what Jesus had done.
… “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. – Acts 2:38
GOING PUBLIC WITH YOUR FAITH
Becoming a Christian is a spiritual, internal and unseen change in a person’s heart. Being a born-again Christian is an event that happens invisibly in your heart the moment you believe. However, baptism is a public declaration of an event that’s happened in your heart. It’s testifying to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are also testifying that you have died to sin. You are buried with Christ into death by baptism. The water symbolises the grave. You are raised to walk in newness of life. Following Jesus is a deeply personal decision; however, it’s not a private matter. Jesus commanded us to tell everyone about our decision (Mark 8:38). Baptism is the moment we go public with our faith.
A SYMBOL OF SOMETHING THAT HAS HAPPENED
Here’s are two analogies that you may find helpful to understand what baptism is. If you’re married, you will likely wear a wedding ring. A wedding ring is a public symbol that you belong to no one else but your spouse. It’s an outward symbol to the world about a particular event, a wedding, that took place. A wedding ring is a symbol that something significant has taken place. In the same way, baptism is a public symbol of a significant event that’s taken place. Baptism waters are also like a graveyard since we have decided to die to the “old you.” The you that once rejected Christ. The Scriptures put it like this:
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
A PICTURE OF SOMETHING THAT WILL HAPPEN
Whilst the action of being immersed in the water symbolizes dying and being buried with Christ, the action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection its also a picture of what will happen one day to us when Christ returns. Those who are saved will experience a glorious transformation and eternal life, just as Christ was resurrected from the dead.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. – 1 Corinthains 15:20 – 21
Baptism is a picture that death is not the end for us. That the grave has no hold on us since our hope is in Christ who has defeated death and is a pattern of what will happen to us one day.
HOW MUST I BE BAPTISED?
In various denominations worldwide, there are different means of being baptized. However, the one we see clearly taught in Scripture is of full-body immersion (Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:38). This ‘mode’ of baptism is indicated by the word baptizo, which means “to immerse” (Mark 1:9). The action of being fully immersed bodily in the water and coming up out of the water illustrates the death and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-4). As a result, baptism by immersion is the only method of baptism which illustrates being buried with Christ and being raised to life with Him. Many times in the Scriptures we also see water baptisms are done in a public place (Matthew 3:5-6; Acts 8:12), this is because it is a public declaration rather than a private confession of our faith. Baptism Sundays are a moment of celebration and thanksgiving!
WHAT ABOUT INFANT BAPTISM/CHRISTENING?
Although infant baptism may hold special significance for many families, it is not addressed anywhere in the Bible. Baptism in the Bible only occurs when a person has just repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus, so they are constantly aware of what is happening to them.
WHEN SHOULD I GET BAPTISED?
As soon as a person becomes a Christian, they should get baptised. Often in the Scriptures, those who became Christians were baptised the same moment. Speak to one of the pastors or the person who is walking with you on the Christian journey about getting baptised. It can happen anywhere, any time, preferably in a public place. It’s also a great opportunity to invite friends and family. We recommend that you get baptised at one of our services. That way you can invite friends and family who will come and witness your baptism and hear the gospel for themselves.
Day 1: “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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Day 2: “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised 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.” – Romans 6:3-4 (NIV)
Day 3: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” -Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV)
Day 4: “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.” – Acts 22:16 (NIV)
Day 5: “But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” – Acts 8:12
Day 6: “Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.” – Acts 18:8
Day 7: “At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.” – Acts 16:33
- Why is baptism considered an important step for someone who has accepted Christ? How does it differ from the internal transformation that occurs when one becomes a born-again Christian?
- In the chapter, the analogy of a wedding ring is used to explain the significance of baptism as a public symbol of a significant event. How does this analogy help us understand the purpose of baptism? What other analogies or metaphors can you think of to describe the meaning of baptism?
- The chapter mentions that baptism is not a private matter but a public declaration of one’s faith in Jesus. Why do you think Jesus commanded believers to share their decision and not keep it private? How can going public with your faith through baptism impact your relationship with God and your interactions with others?
Arrange a time to discuss baptism with your friend going with you on this journey, and take steps to prepare for your own baptism if you still need to be baptised. After you’ve been baptized, describe your experience here: