What is Baptism?
The word, "baptizo," was first used in cloth mills. When wanting to change the color or shade of material, the weaver of cloth would "baptize" the cloth so it became identified with the dye. Baptism in Christianity is a visible expression that you are identifying yourself as a follower of Jesus Christ. We practice immersion, where the whole body is submersed in the water.
Why be Baptized?
- Believers should be baptized because the Lord Jesus commanded it. Jesus commanded his disciples to "go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19). If this were the only reason for baptism, it would be enough. Out of love and gratitude, we obey the commands of our Lord Jesus.
- Believers should be baptized because it is a beautiful symbol of the fogiveness of sin. John the Baptist first used baptism as an object lesson: "They were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins." (Matthew 3:6). Throughout scripture, sin is constantly described as a mortal stain; forgiveness is spoken of as washing white, even "whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:7).
- Believers should be baptized because it is a mark of discipleship. It's interesting that the "making of disciples" and "baptizing" are used in the same mandate. Since water is everywhere, and few acts are so simple as the being immersed underwater, Jesus selected baptism as a universal badge of discipleship.
- Believers should be baptized because our King Jesus was baptized. When Jesus was 30 years old, he asked John the Baptist to baptize Him. The baptism of Jesus was a unique one, however! He chose to publicy identify with John's message of repentance. By being baptized by John, Jesus was able to "fulfill all righteousness." This means that even though Jesus was already righteous, it was important for Him to affirm God's demand for His creatures to be righteous.
- Believers should be baptized because the apostles baptized their converts.
- Belivers should be baptized because it is a picture of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. When we are baptized, we delcare to the world that we believe these distinct facts - that Christ once lived upon the Earth in human flesh, that He died for our sins according to scripture, and that he was buried, rose again from the dead on the third day, lives today, and is ruling and reigning as Lord of all. (1 Corinthians 15:3-11).
- Baptism shows that the beliver is changing from his old life of sinful ways, and starting a new life as a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus' burial and resurrection was an example of how our life changes when we become Christians. Just as Jesus died on the cross and was changed after his resurrection, so then are we. We die to our old, sinful past, and are raised to walk in newness of life with trust and hope in Christ.
If you are a believer in Jesus and want to show others your love for Him because He first loved us, then you are invited to be baptized!