What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
- Romans 6:1-5
WHAT IS BAPTISM?
“Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.” (The Baptist Faith & Message, Article VII. I)
Christian Baptism is important for multiple reasons. It images the story of the Gospel to all who see it and communicates the following truths:
- The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
- The Christian’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection.
- The Christian’s new life received by the Spirit.
- The cleansing and washing away of sin.
Baptism also plays a role within the life of the congregation by:
- Initiating the one baptized into the full life of the church family.
- Calling the one baptized to submit to the leadership of the church.
- Calling the church to love, encourage, and exhort the one baptized.
WHY SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED?
First, a person should be baptized in order to obey the commands of Christ. Baptism plays an important part in the Great Commission where Jesus instructs his followers to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Second, a person should be baptized as evidence that a person is a disciple of Jesus (Acts 2:37-41). Similar to circumcision, which was the sign of the covenant in the Old Testament, the sign of the covenant within the body of Jesus is baptism. Those who are immersed in the baptismal waters are marking and associating themselves with the crucified and risen Lord, as well as his bride. In the early church, baptisms weren’t observed in private baptistries, but in public bodies of water. This was highly scandalous and often led to the believer’s persecution.
Finally, when a believer is immersed, he or she imitates and follows in the baptism of Jesus. Romans 6:3-4 says, Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Any one who has believed on the name of Jesus Christ—his life, death, and resurrection—and received his grace that is freely offered should be baptized. Again, we confess that baptism is not a work of man that makes up something that is lacking in the cross, but is an act of faithfulness to the command of Christ. R.C. Sproul writes, “I [assert] that baptism is not necessary for salvation. However, if you were to ask me, Is baptism necessary for the Christian? I would say, ‘Absolutely.’ It is not necessary for salvation, but it is necessary for obedience, because Christ, with no ambiguity, commanded that all of those who belong to Him, who are part of the new covenant family, and who receive the benefits of His salvation are to be baptized in the [name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] .”
HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED?
We practice baptism by immersion the following reasons:
- The Greek word baptizo literally means to plunge, submerge, or immerse.
- The act of immersing most vividly depicts the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. This is important because we believe that upon believing in and receiving Jesus Christ, the Christian is now united with Christ—He receives our sin and the blow of God’s wrath, and we receive his righteousness and sonship. In addition, water serves as a method of God’s judgment on sinful men (see the story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis 6-7). When a believer passes through the waters, he or she expresses that God’s judgement has been satisfied by Christ.
WHERE SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED?
We do not prescribe a specific location for baptism. Our hope is that you might share in your baptism with the rest of our church family so that you might have the opportunity to boldly declare your faith in Jesus, and that we might share in celebrating God’s work of grace in your life.
If your baptism takes place offsite, we prefer that pictures or video be taken so that we might share in the occasion.
RELEVANT PASSAGES AND RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
Matthew 3, 21, 28
Mark 1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 16
Luke 3, 7, 11, 12, 20
John 1, 3, 4, 10
Acts 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19, 22
1 Corinthians 1, 10, 12, 15
Hebrews 6, 9
1 Peter 3
What is Baptism? by R.C. Sproul (free electronically for Amazon Kindle & iBooks)
Understanding Baptism by Bobby Jamieson
Believer's Baptism by Tom Schreiner and Shawn Wright
"Waters That Unite: 5 Truths About Water Baptism" by David Schrock
"Baptism Is A Church's Act" by Bobby Jamieson