I didn’t get baptized until I was a Sophomore in college even though I started taking my faith seriously as a teenager. I just didn’t think baptism mattered. Besides that, I had seen some others in the youth group get baptized even though they really weren’t actively following Jesus outside of Youth Group. So I figured baptism really wasn’t that important.
Sure, baptism doesn’t “save” you and you can be a Christian and go to Heaven without having ever been baptized. However, the Bible’s pretty clear that we who claim to live for Jesus should be baptized. Time and time again throughout the book of Acts people are getting baptized when they place their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 8:36; 10:48; and tons more). Even Jesus got baptized to set the example for his disciples (surely, he didn’t get baptized because he needed to for his own sake! He did it for the benefit of those he was with… but that’s a topic for another time.).
What Does Baptism Mean?
First, It symbolizes what has happened between us and God. The Apostle Paul writes, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4). Baptism symbolically represents that we have “died to ourselves” (going under the water is like burying our life without Christ) and that we have been “reborn/resurrected in Christ” (coming up from the water is like being born again with Christ).
Second, It foreshadows our firm hope that we will be resurrected from the grave when Jesus Christ returns as judge.
A Few Other Thoughts:
- In the Bible (and in many places today) it was a very dangerous thing to be publicly baptized and identify yourself with Jesus Christ. This act of faith took guts! Sadly, many Americans take their freedom and comfort for granted and since baptism doesn’t “cost” them anything they treat getting baptized as a very casual thing.
- Baptism is a wonderful opportunity to publicly declare your faith to your nonChristian friends and family. Sometimes people put off getting baptized because they don’t like people looking at them or being the center of attention. I’ve heard of some pastors agreeing to baptize people in private with only very few people there to accommodate these fears. I really struggle with that – If we are too timid to stand for Christ in a church full of people who believe as we do and before our friends and family (even if they aren’t Christians, they still care for us), then I wonder how we will boldly stand for Christ in the midst of persecution.
- Prayerfully consider getting baptized, but please don’t get baptized because you feel pressured by people to do so. If you are not compelled to give your life to worship and obey Jesus Christ then you should not be baptized… even if your parents or friends or youth pastor is encouraging you to be baptized. Simply tell them “I’m not ready yet.”
With this in mind (if anyone’s still reading!), Emmanuel Baptist Church is having a Baptism Service on Sunday, November 21. The Baptism Class you will be asked to attend will be on Saturday, November 6 – please talk to Pastor Mike or one of the other pastors or deacons if you’re interested. If you want to be baptized but can’t attend the class on Nov. 6 then we will make other arrangements with you.