Baptism is going public about your faith in Jesus and communicating to the world your heart-felt commitment to following Him. It's the next step after salvation.
WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED?
Every person who has placed faith in Jesus Christ for Salvation should be baptized. The Bible calls this "being saved". A believer is saved from an eternity separated from God. By placing your faith in Christ, the Bible says that all your sins -past, present, and future have been forgiven. Before placing faith in Christ, these sins have separated you from God, who, being holy, cannot tolerate sin. Christ’s forgiveness bridges this gap and makes relationship with God possible. A Baptism does not save you or make you a Christian. Salvation is received by turning from your sins and placing your faith in Christ’s death and resurrection alone for the forgiveness of your sins. Baptism is the outward sign of the commitment you have already made in your heart. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)A believer is someone who has decided to trust in Christ alone for his or her salvation. If you have come to that point in your spiritual journey, then you are ready to be baptized (see 1 John 1:9, John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10).
Baptism does not save you or make you a Christian. Salvation is received by turning from your sins and placing your faith in Christ’s death and resurrection alone for the forgiveness of your sins. Baptism is the outward sign of the commitment you have already made in your heart. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
WHEN SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
As soon as you have believed in Christ you should be baptized. There is no reason to delay. “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 8:12)
WHY SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED?
To follow the example set by Christ. “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” (Mark 1:9)
Because Christ commanded it. “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.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
It demonstrates that I am a believer in Christ. “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.” (1 John 2:3)
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF BAPTISM?
It illustrates Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)“Having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)
It illustrates my new life as a Christian. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2Corinthians 5:17)“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)
WHY BE BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION?
Because Jesus was baptized by immersion. “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.” (Matthew 3:16) The early church baptized by immersion. “Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water ...” (Acts 8:38-39) The Greek word "baptizo" (where we get our word baptize) means “immersion”.
It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.“ (Romans 6:1-11)
WHAT ABOUT INFANT BAPTISM?
The New Testament shows no example of baptism when the person did not request it. All instances of baptism followed a person’s decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation. In the Bible we find parents bringing children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told us to welcome them. But, He did not baptize them and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Baptism is a public profession of salvation, so only people who have intentionally received salvation should experience baptism. At Legacy Church, we wait until a child is old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them. When a child makes a decision for Christ, we gladly baptize them!