Baptism at North Valley
Few events in the Christian life carry as much significance and symbolism as baptism. Along with the Lord’s Supper, Jesus Christ ordained baptism as a special rite for the church to celebrate. These give every Christian a unique opportunity to share obedience, worship, and love for God. Many, however, have questions concerning the biblical meaning and instruction concerning baptism, and this is designed to answer several of these questions.
1. What is Baptism?
Baptism is a public proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God created each of us to know and glorify Him, but our entire person, hijacked by sin, drives us away from His holy nature. We desire everything contrary to God’s holiness, and Scripture teaches that the penalty or “wages” of this sin is death – eternal separation from God (see Romans 6:23). No human effort, including baptism, can compensate for our sinful state. But God, demonstrating both His justice and His love, has paid sin’s penalty for all who receive His grace through faith in His Son. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, lived among us, died on the cross, and was raised from the dead to pay the penalty of sin. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we receive God’s gift of forgiveness and new life in Christ. God restores our entire person, bringing us into the covenant family of God, and provides the way for us to know and glorify Him. Baptism is a public testimony that richly symbolizes that these spiritual truths have been applied to the individual person. Our descent into the water visualizes our death to sin’s control, and our emergence from the water proclaims our new life in Christ.
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." Romans 6:3-5 ESV
2. Who Should be Baptized?
Since baptism is a public profession of a person’s individual faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial act on our behalf, only those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should be baptized.
"For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Galatians 3:26-27 ESV
3. Why Should Christians be Baptized?
There are two main reasons why every person who has professed faith in Jesus Christ should be baptized:
1. Jesus Christ commanded that His followers be baptized. Jesus is both Savior and Lord for every Christian, and baptism provides an opportunity for every believer to publicly submit to Christ’s leadership.
"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." Matthew 28:19 ESV
2. The early church, under the leadership of the apostles, baptized every new believer. The first Christians linked faith in Jesus Christ and baptism – the two were inseparable. Immediate baptism provided a rich explanation of God’s work in the life of the new believer. (Scripture passages describing the growth of the early Church link baptism as the natural outflow of saving faith: Acts 2:41, 8:5-12, 8:13, 8:35-38, 9:18 & 22:16, 10:47, 16:14-15,16:33, 18:8, 19:5)
4. When Should Christians be Baptized?
But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Acts 8:12 ESV
Since baptism is a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, it should be performed after one understands the Gospel, experiences God’s grace, and responds to it through faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism performed prior to these three things is representative of something other than new life in Christ and falls short of what Jesus instituted. Many who were baptized as infants need not feel offended by this biblical understanding of baptism, for their infant baptism was performed out of the best intentions. However, obedience to Jesus’ teachings on His terms requires that baptism be representative of faith in Him.
Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. Acts 16:30-34 ESV
Is your son or daughter asking questions about Baptism? Watch this helpful video.
5. How Should Christians be Baptized?
The word “baptize” literally refers to immersion in water, and therefore we practice baptism by immersion. Our death to sin’s control and new life in Christ is symbolically portrayed as we descend into and emerge from the baptism waters.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
If you have additional questions concerning baptism or the Christian faith, please contact us.
Five Things to Prepare for Your Baptism
1. READ and LISTEN to a message from Pastor Ryan on Baptism at North Valley and email us with any questions.
2. REGISTER to let us know you're ready to be baptized.
3. INVITE friends and family to witness your faith proclamation through your baptism.
4. PREPARE to get wet; on the day of your baptism, come dressed in clothes that you can be completely submerged in water, dark clothes. Make sure to bring a change of clothes and a towel. We will have a black "I AM NEW" t-shirt for you!
5. PROCLAIM your faith; at the baptism ceremony, we will ask you, "Do you place your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?" Your response will be a resounding "YES!"
We look forward to this special time with you, your family, and your friends.