What is Baptism?
It may be helpful to share what baptism isn’t as well as what it is. Baptism isn’t salvation. It is not some magical act that washes ones sins away. It is not a rite of passage or ritual to attain spiritual maturity.
Baptism is a symbolic act that represents what has already happened internally in the life of a believer.
Specifically, baptism is reserved for those have already embraced forgiveness and new life in Jesus. The act of baptism presents the life of the believer dying to self and being raised again in new life.
- Baptism is a public testimony of one’s personal faith in Jesus for salvation.
- Baptism is a public declaration that someone will live a new life in Christ.
Why Do I Need to be Baptized?
Baptism is a means of identifying yourself with Jesus. In many parts of the world, baptism cuts someone off from their family, friends and community. In a sense it is choosing the ways of Jesus above all other ways, roads, beliefs, etc.
Jesus, himself, was baptized as an example to us to follow as well as a foreshadowing of what he would face at the cross.
Jesus commanded his followers to be baptized in Matthew 28:19 as an integral part of making and becoming disciples of Jesus.
When should I be baptized?
There is no one right answer to this question. In the early church, baptism almost always accompanied salvation. As soon as someone confessed Jesus is Lord, they were baptized. In the case of the Ethiopian Eunuch, it happened on the side of the road in the river immediately upon belief.
Baptism should be closely related to conversion. The two go together and should be connected.
Parents may want to wait for children to understand better what they are doing before they are baptized. There is no specific age that determines whether a child is ready or not and the parents will need to make that decision.
For adults, there is no reason to wait. If you are a believer. . . it’s time to be baptized.
What am I proclaiming in baptism?
In baptism, you are proclaiming that Jesus is Lord of your life and that you will follow him all the days of your life. You are recognizing your dependence upon him for life and salvation.
In baptism, you are declaring your allegiance to Jesus as his disciple.