Whether you’ve spent your life in and around churches or not, chances are good that you’ve at least heard of baptism. Do you fully understand it, though?
If not, you’re not alone. Baptism is an ancient practice – one that Jesus himself underwent – but there are still varied understandings about what it means today. It’s alright to feel confused, but that said, baptism is important… so read on for a primer on what baptism is, why it’s worth investigating, and what it can ultimately mean in your life.
What is baptism?
Baptism is an outward expression of an internal change – a demonstration of faith that showcases our trust in Christ. During baptism, we are immersed in water before a supportive congregation of believers, publicly symbolizing the death of the lives we’ve lived devoted to sin. When we re-emerge from the water, it symbolizes our birth into new life in Jesus… and offers us a wonderful reason to celebrate!
Where did it come from?
In the gospels, we read that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, along with many others who were confessing and repenting of their sins in anticipation of the Messiah’s coming (Matt. 3:6). While it may seem odd at first that Jesus would join in given that Jesus was the Messiah and had no sin to confess, Jesus explains himself to John, stating, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Jesus’s life on Earth was all about the fulfillment of righteousness, and not only righteousness for himself, but for every sinful person. He knew that we were sinful, and he was baptized as an example of how we should pursue confession, repentance, and renewal in our lives.
Why do we do it?
We are baptized because we want to declare to the world the great things Jesus has done for us and that he has set us free from the wages of sin. Also, we do it to follow Jesus’s directive to his followers to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28: 19). Ultimately, we are baptized to show that “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
Why do we do it the way we do it?
In the Bible, we see people being baptized once they believed the good news about Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12), and we see them doing so through full immersion in bodies of water. While some churches baptize children at a very young age, at CCC, we welcome people to baptism who have made a decision to trust their salvation to Jesus and are ready to publicly declare their commitment to follow him, as Jesus’s disciples did from the earliest times (Acts 10:47).
Do I need to be baptized?
While baptism is not essential to your salvation, it is a great step of obedience that Jesus calls us toward. Getting dunked into some water is in some ways the easiest step you’ll take as a follower of Christ! Baptism showcases our love for Christ publicly in the same way he publicly displayed his love for us on the cross. If you haven’t made the choice to be immersed in the waters of baptism since deciding to follow Jesus, we encourage you to strongly consider doing so. And, when you’re ready, we want to help you take that next step.
How do I do it?
If you’re interested in baptism at CCC, register for our next baptism class and service.
We can’t wait to celebrate together what God has done in your life!
Have more questions about baptism? We’d love to chat. Email [email protected] to start a conversation, or stop by the Next Steps Area the next time you’re at church!