We may never be martyrs but we can die to self, to sin, to the world, to our plans and ambitions. That is the significance of baptism; we died with Christ and rose to new life. - Vance Havne
Baptism is a ceremony dating back throughout scripture where believers publicly declare their commitment to Christ Jesus. This is your opportunity to make your declaration. Jesus said, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:31-33)
What does it mean to be baptized in water?
The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, meaning to “completely cover, submerge or immerse.”
- Jesus Himself was baptized. (Matthew 3:13-17)
- Jesus told his disciples that they should baptize people. (Matthew 28: 16-20)
- Those who first became Christians at Pentecost were baptized. (Acts 2:37-41)
Looking more closely at Acts 2:38, we find 3 key actions within this call of baptism:
- Repent: Confess your sin and turn your life over to Jesus (that is, embrace Him as your Lord and Savior) and accept His free gift of salvation.
- Be baptized: Publicly declare before God and anyone else that you are now a follower of Jesus and that your identity and life is for Him—this is an outward expression of an inward transformation.
- Receive: The Holy Spirit is God’s promise to you as a believer. The Holy Spirit comes and dwells in you, empowering you to live this new Christian life.
What does this have to do with me?
Water baptism symbolizes what Jesus has accomplished for us to give us forgiveness of our sin and eternal life:
- His death: Going down into the water
- His burial: Being submerged under the water
- His resurrection: Being raised up out of the water
Water baptism also symbolizes our commitment to live our lives for Jesus:
- Dying to our old self: Going down into the water
- Burial of our old self: Being submerged under the water
- Our new life for Jesus: Being raised up out of the water
Baptism, then, is a response to our repentance of sin and our faith in Jesus.
- It is a symbol of our identification with Jesus in His death and resurrection.
- It is an act of obedience to Jesus and to the word of God.
- It is a public declaration before God and the world.
- It is an outward expression of our inward transformation.
Examples of baptism in scripture
- Acts 2:41: About 3,000 people accepted the message about Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection and were baptized.
- Acts 8:12: Men and women in Samaria were baptized when they believed Philips’ message about Jesus.
- Acts 8:38-40: Philip baptized the eunuch when he believed the message about Jesus.
- Acts 9: The conversion of Saul (Paul).
- Acts 16:13-15: Lydia and her household were baptized when they accepted the message about Jesus.
- Acts 16:29-33: The jailer and his household were baptized when they believed the message about Jesus.
- Galatians 3:26-27: Water baptism is a divinely ordained way of expressing one’s faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ.