Believer's Baptism

Water baptism is an ordinance of the Christian Church

By ordinance we mean

  • A law or decree established by an authority. Thus it is binding upon its subjects.
  • Water baptism (and the Lord”s Supper) is an outward symbol appointed by Jesus Christ to be administered in the church as a visible sign of the truth of the Christian faith.

We Believe

“The ordinance of baptism by immersion in water should be observed by those who receive Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. It is a picture of the death of the sinful nature and of a new life in Christ.”

Baptism was not absolutely new in Jesus’ day. Ancient Egyptians, Persians, Hindus, Greeks and Romans had purification rites attached to their religious observances. Sometimes it took the form of a bath in the sea or was effected by sprinkling.

The Jews had many ritual washings and purifications attached to the Tabernacle and Temple worship. They also had “proselyte baptism“, the incorporation of Gentiles into Israel by way of circumcision and later baptism. It was merely a sort of ceremonial washing or cleansing.

Christian baptism was instituted with divine authority after Jesus had finished His work of redemption.

Baptism is a Christian ordinance and is generally practiced by almost all denominations and churches.

However there is a wide difference in mode and meaning given to it. Because of these differences, baptism may mean one thing to one church and an entirely different thing to another.

The Message Is

Repent and be baptized“.

Acts 2:41  “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:37, 38  “Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

Acts 16:13-15  “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Acts 16:30-33  “He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Acts 18:8 “Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.

Water baptism is thus intended for believers. Baptism must be preceded by a profession of faith.

When Should I Be Baptized?

From the above mentioned references it would indicate that a person should be baptized as soon after conversion as possible. Having been taught what baptism is and with that understanding a Christian should proceed to fulfill this act of obedience as quickly as possible.

Where Should I Be Baptized?

We are not told in the Bible to be baptized in any one special place, only that we”re to be baptized. Whether it is in a pool, pond, lake, tank, river or an ocean, really makes no difference to this ordinance. ONE THING WE DO NOTE is that the water must be deep enough.

John 3:23  “Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.

Why Should I Be Baptized?

There are at least three important reasons why a believer should submit to the ordinance of Christian baptism.

When a Christian is baptized in water he demonstrates a vital testimony to his community and to society at large. He is saying in effect “I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back”. He is saying publicly that he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
There is no recorded exception in the New Testament. All Christians were baptized upon their conversion. It was not an option to be exercised.

It is the completing element in the process of renewal.

Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

It is commanded. In the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

…Jesus is very explicit. All authority (the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others) has been given to Jesus. Therefore disciples (followers of Jesus) are to be baptized in water. New Christians are to be taught to obey everything that has been commanded them. When we obey the command to be baptized we are showing our union with and commitment to Christ.

How Should I Be Baptized?

There is only one Biblical mode for water baptism, and that is by immersion. The Bible gives no other method be it sprinkling or pouring. Please note:

Matthew 3:16  “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.

Acts 8:38  “And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.

One Final Word

In recognition of the Triune Godhead’s participation is mankind, salvation the believer is baptized on the basis of the Trinitarian formula: i.e. – The Name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19.) This has always been the orthodox position of the Christian Church.

In the Book of Acts (2:38, 8:16; 10:48; 19:5) the abbreviated form emphasizes the distinctive quality of this baptism. The new Christian avows his intention to be committed to and be identified with Jesus Christ.

Upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as the focus of our Christian faith we are baptized in the authority of Jesus Christ. This is not a contradiction to the fuller formula given in Matthew 28:19.

Conclusion

When a Christian is baptized he proclaims his faith in certain distinct facts: Jesus Christ lived, died was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures.

Willingly and publicly we confess to the world we are identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ and His Church.