Posted by: Toni Sprandel | March 19, 2013

Water Baptism

Water baptism has been done differently depending on the denomination of church you go to.  Growing up in a mainline protestant denomination, they baptized infants by sprinkling.  As a young married adult, we attended a church that was an evangelical protestant denomination, and they did baptism by immersion after the person acknowledged coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I am not a theologian, just a regular person who is always thinking about things.  What I would like to share is my thoughts about what the Bible says and the examples of it from Jesus’ life.  As with all things for me personally, I go to the Bible and examine what Jesus said and did and then follow His example.

The NASB Life Application Study Bible gives this definition for baptism: “a religous ceremony consisting of immersing someone in water.  In the New Testament the ceremony was first performed or presided over by John the Baptist as a sign of repentance, and later by the Apostles in the name of Jesus for new converts.  The ceremony symbolizes spiritual cleansing or rescue from divine judgement.”   Mark 1:4 says this: “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  For me, baptism is the outward expression of the inward change in my life.  To me baptism signifies that I have realized I was a sinner in need of forgiveness.  I accept the forgiveness of my sins through Jesus’ death on cross, and I want to follow Him.

But why would I get baptized by immersion now, since I was baptized by sprinkling as an infant?  That was a question that went through my mind.  So I went to the scriptures and wanted to see what Jesus’ parents did when he was an infant.  Luke 2:21-24 speak about what his parents did.  On the eighth day after Jesus was born, his parents took him to the temple to be circumsized, named and consecrated to the LORD.  What I have witnessed in the Evangelical churches we have attended is called a baby dedication, in which the infant is dedicated (consecrated to the LORD).  As I was baptized as an infant, I was unable to make a profession of faith in Jesus, nor was I able to confess my sins.  I was not able to make a conscious decision to follow Christ.  Jesus was about 30 when He began His earthly, public ministry and He went out to where John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan river and asked John to baptize Him.  Mark 1:9b says “….and (He) was baptized by John in the Jordan.”  Jesus got baptized by immersion, so I too followed His example, and was baptized by immersion.

So the next question that comes to mind is when do you get baptized?  Again, I go back to the scriptures.  John the Baptist and the Apostles baptized people after they have confessed their sin and desired to follow Jesus.   So what I believe is, that baptism is done after we confess our sins, turn from our old ways and now desire to follow Jesus.  In Matthew 28:19a Jesus gives the Great Commission and it begins like this: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them….”.  Jesus instructed the disciples that they were to go and make disciples and then baptize them.

I believe the foonote for that verse really sums it up: “The disciples were to baptize people because baptism unites a believer with Jesus Christ in his or her death to sin and resurrection to new life.  Baptism symbolizes submission to Christ, a willingness to live God’s way, and identification with God’s covenant people.”  If you have received Christ as your personal Saviour & LORD, but have not made the decision yet to get baptized, pray about it and seek the LORD’s will.  For me, following Christ in my heart meant I needed to take this step of obedience to Christ and publicly declare, I am walking the Jesus Road.  Thank you Jesus for your example to me.

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