What is Baptism?

Baptism is the union ceremony of the believer with God and his Church as they publicly acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior, and are filled with the Holy Spirit. It is the symbolic ritual of being dipped into water like a grave and being lifted out like a resurrection.

Why get baptized?


Baptism is an immersion in water that identifies a believer with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3 8). This new person then, by the power of the Spirit, seeks to have the new life of Christ reproduced in his/her life. “All of you who are baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Baptism brings us into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), not just one local church. We are baptized into Christ, not into a particular church.


We seek to keep the unity the early church experienced, expressed in Ephesians 4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Baptism is a unifying experience, which is experienced in our trusting obedience.


When combined with faith and repentance, we have promises directly connected to the covenant sign of baptism: forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), washing away of sin (Acts 22:16; Ephesians 5:26), salvation and a clean conscience (1 Peter 3:21).


Baptism, when combined with faith and repentance, is a sign of the assurance of our salvation. We can know for certain that we have responded by faith to God’s desires. Jesus offered us a new covenant or “commitment” and we enjoy the blessings of the new covenant made through Christ. “Let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, because we have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).


Jesus commanded it as a part of the discipling of everyone: “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” (Matthew 28:19). In John 3:3-5, Jesus said that we must have a new birth into God’s family. One cannot enter God’s kingdom “unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” Baptism is not the giver of life, any more than birth gives life. In baptism, one is translated from one kingdom to another. It is a beautiful privilege that every believer ought to welcome.


The Word “Baptize” means “Immerse or submerge”. The New Testament was written in the Greek language. If you were to check any Greek dictionary or lexicon, you would find that “baptize” is always translated as “immerse,” “dip,” or “plunge.” There are other Greek words for “sprinkle” (rantizo) and “pour” (cheo), but these words are never used. Instead, the Bible always uses the specific word “immerse” (baptizo) [John 3:23, Matthew 3:16, Acts 8:38-39].

The answer is that you and I do not need to be re-baptized due to sin or displaced allegiance after baptism. It is not an issue of what you did not know when you made the decision to be immersed for the forgiveness of your sins, but what you did know. 

Were you aware of who Jesus is and what He is offering each of us by His grace? If so, your act of faith and trust was what He desired. The response would be to confess your sin and displaced allegiance and pray for the forgiveness of your sin and the blood He gave to wash you clean is more than sufficient (1 John 1:9).

Baptism is a spiritual occasion, but the water itself is common and contains no magical properties. Baptism simply becomes the event for our covenantal union with Christ, and the feeling that accompanies a baptism may be similar to one that accompanies the covenantal union of a wedding ceremony.

We have special times each year when parents may publicly dedicate themselves to raising their children to know God, but we believe the necessary steps of faith expected of each disciple of Jesus must be offered by the individual’s personal decision (Acts 16:14, John 3, Col. 2:11-12).

Salvation is portrayed in the ordinances but is not performed in the ordinances. It is necessary for obedience, but not for salvation. Salvation is only by grace through faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8). Baptism is merely a sign of our covenantal relationship with Christ and the benefits of that relationship (Rom. 6:3-8, Col. 2:11-12).

What comes next?

Baptism is the event of our covenantal union with Christ, where we recognize our need for Christ as Savior, and proclaim our commitment to Christ as Lord – so the most important part of baptism is how you plan to reorient your life to follow him. This is both a personal, and communal, activity and we have created Pathways to help determine what your next step could be to know God, grow in God, and go with God.

Interested in being baptized?

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