Baptism… is it necessary? Why is it such a big deal?
Over almost thirty-five years of ministry, baptism is something that has generated lots of questions from people. There is one aspect of baptism that has in particularly caused some questions and even a little frustration… that is asking someone who is a Christian from another denomination to be baptized if they join a Baptist church. I want to answer a few questions on Baptism in this post.
First, baptism doesn’t save you. Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith… not as a result of works lest any man should boast.” Requiring baptism for salvation is adding works to it.
Second, the Bible does command every Christian to be baptized. The Bible tells us that Jesus was baptized. Luke 3:21-22 says, “One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.[g]”
Third, baptism has been referred to as “the first act of obedience” for a Christian. That is because, once a person asks Christ into their hearts, the first thing they are asked to do is be baptized. Someone has said that “baptism is an outward symbol of an inner commitment.”
Finally… what method of baptism is the right one? Baptists believe that immersion is the proper way. Immersion means putting the body completely under the water. We use immersion because we believe the Bible teaches that Jesus was immersed. So, when someone who has been raised Catholic or Methodist or Presybterian wants to join a Baptist church, they are asked to be baptized by immersion even if they been sprinkled in the past. They are asked to be immersed because Baptists believe immersion is the proper way of being baptized.
So… to sum up… baptism doesn’t save you but, it is something you need to do.. it’s an act of obedience to Christ. As Baptists, we believe the correct mode is immersion.
On our Israel trip in January, Holli and I joined a group of people on our trip in being baptized in the Jordan. It was a very neat experience. It was a time of renewal for us. If you have never been baptized, I encourage you to find a local church, make a commitment to it and be baptized. Jesus was… that’s a good enough reason for each one of us to be baptized.