Baptism Christian Baptism Christian baptism is immersion in water in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ. It is an act of obedience which commits one to a life of obedience. Christian baptism is a command to be obeyed - Matthew 28:18-20. Christian baptism is where one is cleansed from sin, a symbolic washing away of the old - Acts 22:16. Christian baptism is the receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:38. Christian baptism symbolizes the new birth by which one becomes a new creature in Christ. It symbolizes the beginning of new life - John 3:1-6. Christian baptism is the act that unites one with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus - Romans 6:3-7, Colossians 2:12. WHAT CHRISTIAN BAPTISM IS: It is commanded by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ - Matthew 28:18-20. It is the appeal to God for a clear conscience - I Peter 3:21. To demonstrate openly an obedience and a willingness to come under the Lordship of Christ - Matthew 3:13-15, I John 2:4. To receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:38. Jesus was baptized himself to "fulfill all righteousness". We have no grounds on which to claim exemption from any divine requirement. Obedience resulting from love is our main motive. WHAT CHRISTIAN BAPTISM IS NOT It is not a guarantee of heaven; if there is not faith and repentance, baptism is invalid - Ephesians 2:8-9. It is not proof to a congregation of the genuineness of a convert's faith. It is only proof to God who knows the heart and motives of the person. HOW WAS CHRISTIAN BAPTISM PERFORMED? Bible baptism is immersion – Matthew 3:16, Acts 8:26-39, John 3:23. Jesus was immersed - Matthew 3:13-17. Even scholars from churches which accept modes other than immersion will concede that immersion was original and that sprinkling and pouring were the concessions of man and were never authorized to practice by the Apostles or Christ. Every denomination, Protestant, and Catholic will accept immersion as valid Christian baptism. Other forms did not come into practice until much later. No biblical statement can be cited to grant any person or church the right to alter apostolic practice with regard to baptism. The true meaning of baptism--death, burial and resurrection--cannot be visualized or portrayed in any form other than immersion. SOME KEY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ABOUT BAPTISM Do we believe in "baptismal regeneration"? No. Baptismal regeneration means we believe that a person is saved by the act of baptism itself. We cannot say that because the Bible says we are saved by grace through faith. Baptism is not a removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to God for a clear conscience. Our salvation rests on the work of Christ on the cross. Can a person be a Christian and not be baptized? To say "yes" is to say more than the bible says (Mark 16:16). To say "no" is to presume to be God. Once a person has said yes to Jesus as Savior and Lord, he has forfeited all rights to say no to any of Christ's commands. Baptism is one of those commands. How soon should a person be baptized once he believes in Christ and wants to commit his life to him? The pattern in Acts was "immediately". Who is a proper candidate for baptism? Those who hear the gospel - Acts 18:8. Those who believe - Mark 16:16. Those who repent of sin - Acts 2:38. Those who confess Christ with their mouth - Acts 8:37. Thus infants are not proper subjects for baptism. If you would like to be baptized, the proper time is the moment you believe in Christ. Having repented of your sins and confessed the name of Christ, you are ready to no longer live for yourself but live for Jesus and be baptized. Please call us, we would love to discuss this with you, 515-576-2096.