What is Water Baptism?
The word ‘baptism’ means to immerse or dip and suggests a complete submerging. In a biblical sense, to baptize a person in water means to put that person completely under the water, then immediately raise him or her up again
According to the Bible, water baptism is a symbolic act where a Christian identifies with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Water baptism is a public confession of a person's repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and a way of giving outward testimony to an inward work of God.
What does Water Baptism signify?
When we become Christians, we are made a new creation and our heart is washed clean and our spirit is made alive by the Holy Spirit. We now have the ability to communicate with God, hear His voice, love and obey Him, overcome sin, and walk out our salvation by faith.
Water baptism symbolically identifies us as new creations in Christ. By going down in the water, we illustrate that our old self is dead to sin and buried by faith in Christ and as a result, we are free from our old master Satan. By being raised up out of the water, we show that our new self is raised by the Spirit and made alive by faith in Christ. Since our new Master is the Lord Jesus, we commit to walk in righteousness (not by our old ways and worldly habits but by our new life in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling our spirit). “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11 (ESV).
Is Baptism necessary?
We don’t win God's favour or earn acceptance through baptism (Rom. 4:2-5, Rom. 11:6) and it isn’t necessary to earn our salvation or become a Christian (John 3:5, Romans 8:9). It is also not essential for belonging to the church. Water baptism is purely an outward sign of an inner work that has already taken place through the work of Jesus Christ in a believer’s life.
But is it important?
As a first step of obedience in walking out your faith, a new Christian should definitely be water baptized because the Bible commands it! It is a great public declaration of what God has done in your life and how you are now a new person. We encourage people not to perform it merely as an outward ritual because there is power in the symbol and act of obedience that can open your heart to an even deeper sense of the miracle of salvation.
Who should be Water Baptized?
Those who have repented of their sins and believe in Jesus with all of their heart.
Some examples of Water Baptism in the New Testament include:
· John the Baptist baptized those who would repent (Mark 1:5)
· On the day of Pentecost, 3,000 new believers were baptized (Acts 2:41)
· The Samaritans that believed were baptized (Acts 8:12)
· Paul was baptized three days after he met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:18)
· Cornelius and some other Gentiles were baptized (Acts 10:47)
· Lydia and her household were baptized (Acts 16:15).
· The Philippian jailer and his household were baptized (Acts 16:33)
· Many Corinthians were baptized (Acts 18:8)
· The Ephesian disciples were baptized (Acts 19:5)
Is there an age restriction?
If someone is old enough to understand their need for a Saviour and have made a clear decision to follow Christ with their lives then they can be baptized. We would suggest that those in High School age and upwards will be appropriate to consider this.