Importance of Baptism
Baptism and the Church
Baptism is a special symbolic ritual for most Christian churches. The history of baptism begins with the early Christian church but continues today. Baptism has been a beautiful expression of faith by Christians for centuries. But, many people have questions regarding this ancient practice. For example, what is baptism and what does it mean? Who should be baptized? Also, many wonder what is the importance of baptism anyways?
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a ritual involving water, symbolizing a public declaration of faith for followers of Jesus. People are baptized in different ways based on church tradition. Some are sprinkled with water, or water is poured over their head. Others are dunked in a tank of water or in a body of water.
The act of baptism is a meaningful act for many Christians. It often serves as a place marker for people’s faith journey. Almost every denomination usse some form of water for the act of baptism The importance of baptism is unquestioned in the Christian faith.
Baptism in the Bible
Jesus, himself, was baptized by John the Baptist. John tried to stop John from baptizing him but Jesus said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Jesus then walked into the water and was baptized by John. From this point on, followers of Jesus were baptized.
After Jesus returned to heaven the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost. Peter stood up and addresses the crowd to explain what was happening. In his speech he says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). It seems that baptism represented one’s turning from their old ways (repenting), represented receiving forgiveness for sins and receiving the Spirit of God.
As Peter finished his speech it says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day”(Acts 2:41). Multiple other stories in the book of Acts recount an individual or group believing in Jesus and immediately being baptized (Acts 8:12, 8:38, 10:47).
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul uses baptism as a representation of our old self dying with Christ, only to be raised out the water to a new life; in the same way Christ was raised from the dead (Rom. 6:3).
Throughout his writings the apostle Paul references baptism as a meaningful ordinance in the early church.
The Importance of Baptism
Baptism holds multiple meanings for the follower of Jesus. One cannot overestimate the importance of baptism in a believer’s life. Below are a few meanings of baptism.
A Public Declaration
Baptism signifies the moment a person publicly declares their allegiance to Christ. This is not to say baptism is essential for salvation, only an specific moment one can point to later in life. In this way baptism holds many similarities to a marriage ceremony. The marriage ceremony may or may not represent the moment a person is married in the sight of God. But, there is power in making a public marriage declaration in front of friends and family.
An Act of Obedience
Jesus himself was baptized. In doing so, he set an example for his disciples to follow. Baptism is an important way to align our lives with the life of Jesus. We are baptized as a first act of faith and obedience to Jesus.
Moving from Death to Life
Baptism is a powerful symbol of a person’s old life dying with Christ. As a person is dropped down into the water, it represents their old way of living, thinking, acting dying with Christ. This is why scripture says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
A Brand New Life
Baptism is a wonderful chance for followers of Jesus to get a fresh start in life. As a person comes back up out of the water, it represents having a brand new life with Christ. In this new life, a person is filled with God’s Spirit, who promises to guide them, help them, lead them. Also, this baptized person is now formally adopted into God’s family.
Who Should Be Baptized
In the book of Acts, every new believer was baptized. Therefore, the simplest answer is every new believer. But, some people have believed all their life but have never been baptized. The act of baptism is for every believer. In scripture, the choice to be baptized is not separate from the choice to follow Jesus. If possible, a person is baptized immediately.Therefore, if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, then you should be baptized.