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What is Baptism?

Baptism means “to dip; immersion or submersion” as a symbol of purification and sanctification. The word baptism comes from the Greek word “baptize” means “to cover in water, wash, dip, baptize”. Baptism is for born-again, Spirit-filled believers. It is an outward sign of an inward change – 1 Peter 3:20-21.

Why Be Baptized?

Baptism is one of the most important practices in the life of the church. The need for baptism is something that most Christians recognize. Jesus emphasized the importance of baptism when he commanded his disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit” – Matthew 28:19. Baptism reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection and of our relationship to God and one another through the Holy Spirit.

Committed Christians interpret baptism in different ways, but most Christians agree that baptism:

  • is central to the Christian faith
  • is not an option but a commandment
  • is often a way for people to show in public their commitment to God
  • unifies Christians as members of the same body
  • has no ultimate significance apart from faith in Jesus Christ

What happens during a baptism?

Although baptism ceremonies may look quite different from group to group, there are more similarities than differences.

1. Water is always present, whether it is in the form of a natural body of water, a baptismal font, a baptistery, a pool, or simply a bowl of water.

2. A church leader asks a few questions to give opportunity for persons involved in the baptism to profess their faith outwardly, then asks the support of those present. In the case of infant baptism, those questions are for the parents and others present to make certain the child will have Christian examples, support, and instruction towards a life of faith.

Methods of Baptism

Different methods are used in baptism – some groups sprinkle water on the forehead, others pour water from a pitcher over the whole head, and others dip or immerse the person’s whole body under water.

Those who practice believers’ baptism believe that the practice of immersion (being completely covered with water) more fully displays the symbolic burial of the believer’s old life. As believers go under and emerge from the water, they identify themselves with Jesus’ sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection.

Other modes of baptism developed in the early church, such as pouring (affusion) and sprinkling (aspiration), are more practical in times of persecution and with infants. As a result, pouring and sprinkling are usually connected with churches that practice infant baptism and places where Christianity is illegal.

Bible Mentions of Baptism

Mark 16:15-16 – believers who are baptized will be saved. He who is not baptized is condemned.

Matthew 3:13-17 – The baptism of Jesus (our example)

Luke 3:21-22

Acts 2:37-38 (Day of Pentecost)

Acts 8: 35-39 (Ethiopian eunuch)

Acts 10:44-48 (Cornelius’ house)

Colossians 2:11-15 – buried and raised

Romans 6:3-6 – buried with Him, raised with Him

Galatians 3:26-29 – you have put in Christ

Once you are born again and water baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit you need to live for God. Some of the benefits of living for God – or Godliness:

Godliness gives divine protection. Hebrews 1:14, Psalms 46:1-2, Isiah 43:2-3

Godliness ensures promotion. Proverbs 22:29 (Daniel and Joseph)

Godliness ensures long life. Job 17:9, Psalms 91:16

Godliness ensures prosperity. II Chronicles 26:5

Be on the winning team – live for Christ!