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Understanding Baptism

Baptism is a powerful symbol that represents, like a drama, that the death and resurrection of Jesus is something that now shapes our whole life. We’re completely immersed, all in. The act itself doesn’t save us, but rather shows what God is already doing within us as we are choosing to follow all the ways of Jesus as the King and Lord of our life.

Would you like to be baptized or learn more?

What is baptism?

Baptism is like a small play or drama done at a theatre. It is done in front of other people to tell the true story about Jesus Christ. The person being baptized becomes like Jesus in this play; we say they are “in Christ” and the person joins with Jesus Christ in doing the things that he did:

  1. Being immersed in water, the person “dies” and is buried
  2. Being brought up out of the water, the person is “raised” to a new life

Romans 6:4-10, NLT 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. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Who is baptism for?

Baptism is done by people that believe in who Jesus is, that what Jesus taught is true and that he has done something to rescue them from a problem they could not solve on their own. The person has decided to trust and follow him.

The Bible tells the story that the world and humans were created for good, but that there is now a problem in the world and inside of everyone. Jesus taught that this problem is called “sin” and it destroys everything. Sin is very powerful and we cannot stop it. Sin will always lead to pain, suffering, and death. All of us have sinned. Jesus showed himself to be uniquely able to address this because he is both fully human and fully God. His death and resurrection showed that he is who he says he is, and that he is powerful enough to destroy the power of sin and death so that we can live in a new way.

When a person is baptized we see them “die” and be buried. This reminds us that Jesus died on a cross and was buried in a tomb to deal with the problem of sin and break its power. When a person is baptized we also see them “raised” to new life. This reminds us that Jesus was raised to life again and that he gives us a new life that has been washed clean.

Baptism is done in public, to let people know the story of Jesus in our lives and our commitment to him.

Why be baptized?

  1. To follow the model Jesus gave us. Jesus himself was baptized, fully immersed in water, to demonstrate his life was fully yielded to God. (Matthew 3:13-17)
  2. To show that we have turned to God by putting our faith in the Good News of Jesus
    • Acts 2:38, NLT – Peter replied, “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. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
    • Acts 8:12, NLT – Now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized.
  3. To show on the outside what God has been doing inside of us, making us new.
    • Galatians 3:27, NLT – And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
    • Romans 6:4, NLT – 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.
    • Colossians 2:12, NLT – For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
  4. To find community with other followers of Jesus, called the Church
    • 1 Corinthians 12:13, NLT – Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
  5. To follow the command Jesus gave to all of his disciples:
    • Matthew 28:19, NLT – “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”