Baptism

Written by: George J. Elling

In this blog we will discuss baptism; what it is, what it means, and how it is performed at Baptist and similar churches.

What is Baptism?

Baptism is an act that is performed by most all Christian churches. While details of the act will vary, it is designed to symbolize what happens to a person when they receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. It represents and deepens the born again experience a person goes through when they put their faith in Christ. It is also usually performed simultaneously with a person formally joining a church if they have not been previously baptized.

What is the meaning behind baptism?

To understand the meaning of baptism we need to first understand what it means to come to Jesus Christ for salvation.

When a person comes to Christ or puts their faith and trust in Christ for salvation, they are “born again”, that is, they have a spiritual birth. The Bible says,

Therefore if any man be in Christ, 
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

If you think about it, this is like having a new birth, like starting over, but more than that. The person who has been born again has had a spiritual birth or awakening, and now has the life of Christ within them. The Bible says,

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead
shall also quicken your mortal bodies
by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Romans 8:11

How is this possible? The Bible teaches us that when we put our faith in Christ we are identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection unto a new life. The apostle Paul described it this way:

3 “For what the law could not do,
in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death;
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin;
but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead
shall also quicken your mortal bodies
by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Romans 8:3-11

The Holy Spirit is the one who “baptizes” us into Christ when we come to faith. Spiritually we have died with Christ, were buried, and rose again to new life in Christ with the Holy Spirit indwelling our spirit. Thus, spiritually, we come to have Christ’s life within us, and we become a new creation (see above).

The act of baptism is designed to symbolize this process of dying, being buried, and raising to a new life in Christ, i.e., being born again.

How is Baptism performed at Baptist Churches?

The act of baptism uses water as a medium for the symbolic death, burial, and resurrection of the person who presents themselves for baptism. You will walk down a few steps into a tank of water, called a baptistry. Or, if the church does not have a formal baptistry, a natural body of water or a pool of water can be used. The pastor will be there with you. The pastor will ask you if you have placed your faith in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. He will then allow you time to express your faith. Upon this profession of faith, the pastor then immerses you into the water and raises you back up.

If that sounds a little scary or awkward, it’s not. Before being baptized, candidates meet with a pastor or deacon to review the meaning and the process of baptism. At that time, you can ask any questions you have. If there are health issues which might make it difficult to be immersed in water, accommodations can be made. All of this can be discussed beforehand.

The Joy of Baptism

Baptism is a joyous occasion and a time to celebrate your new life in Christ with family and friends. It brings you closer to Christ as you identify with Him and follow Him in obedience to be like Him.

What Baptism is Not

Baptism, as simply a religious ritual, does not save you (see 1 Peter 3:21). The act of recognizing your sinfulness, and calling upon, and placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, saves you. This is the act of being born again by the Holy Spirt. Baptism symbolizes what has already taken place in a person’s life.

-GJE

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Baptism

Matthew 28: 19
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”

Matthew 3: 1, 2, 11 —
1 “In those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

2 “And saying, Repent ye:
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance:
but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes
I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost,
and with fire:”

Matthew 3: 13 – 17
13 “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

— John 1: 26, 29
26 “John answered them, saying,
I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you,
whom ye know not;”
29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him,
and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world.?”

John 4: 1, 2
1 “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees
had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
2 “(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)”

Acts 2: 38 —
“Then Peter said unto them,
Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the
name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 8: 35 – 39
35 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
36 “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37 “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38 “And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39 “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

— Acts 9: 17, 18
17 And Ananias went his way,
and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said,
Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee
in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive
thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales:
and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

Acts 10: 47, 48 —
47 “Can any man forbid water,
that these should not be baptized,
which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.
Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”

Acts 16: 33
“And he took them the same hour of the night,
and washed their stripes; and was baptized,
he and all his, straightway.”

— Acts 18: 8
“And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue,
believed on the Lord with all his house;
and many of the Corinthians hearing believed,
and were baptized.”

Acts 19: 4, 5 —
4 “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the
baptism of repentance, saying unto the people,
that they should believe on him which should come after him,
that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 “When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 22: 16
“And now why tarriest thou?
arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,
calling on the name of the Lord.”

Romans 6: 3 – 5
3 “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:”

1 Corinthians 12: 13 —
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free;
and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

— Galatians 3: 26, 27
26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 “For as many of you as have been baptized
into Christ have put on Christ.”

Ephesians 4: 4 – 6
4 “There is one body, and one Spirit,
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 “One God and Father of all, who is above all,
and through all, and in you all.”

1 Peter 3: 21 —
” The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also
now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,
but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”

©2013 Mark Davis

Continued Reading:

Lesson 2 – Baptism – Lesson

Growing In Grace – Bible Study

RECALL NOTICE! IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED!

Understanding Our Core Beliefs As Christians

What is it That Saves You?

Lesson 13 – Baptist Distinctives – Lesson

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