What is Baptism
In the days of the early church, hundreds and thousands of people gave their lives to Christ daily. Each one was immediately, spontaneously baptized as a symbol of the commitment they had just made.
At Eliot, we see baptism exactly the same — an outward expression of an inward commitment. When each person is completely immersed under water, we see an awesome illustration of the death and burial of Jesus Christ and our decision to die to our old life. Rising up out of the water, the resurrection power of Jesus Christ to overcome sin and death is seen as the celebration of new life in Christ begins!
Just like a wedding ring shows publicly our commitment to our spouse in marriage, baptism shows publicly that we have made a personal decision to follow Christ.
As you consider being baptized, most people will typically have many questions. While not every question may be answered in these pages, those most commonly asked will be addressed and answered from God’s Word. We encourage you to take time to read all Bible passages for yourself in your own Bible. If you do not own a Bible and would like one, please ask and we will be happy to provide you with one!
Simply, baptism is a public symbol of an inward commitment to God. When a person admits that he or she is a sinner and turns to Christ for salvation, the Bible says that a person should tell everyone that their life has been changed. In Acts 8:34-38 we see the account of the Ethiopian Eunuch committing his life to Christ and immediately being baptized. It has always been a public way of showing that you have made a decision to become a believer. A believer is someone who has concluded that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for their sins is the only thing that can bridge the gap between them and God. They have decided to accept God’s free gift of salvation and let Him change their life.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands his followers to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Baptism is how followers of Christ are identified. When we make the decision to accept Christ, the Bible says we should be baptized as a symbol of that commitment. There is no magic in the water. It doesn’t save you. Much like the wearing of a wedding ring is a symbol of an inward commitment to your spouse, being baptized symbolizes publically the inward commitment you’ve made to follow Christ.
In Matthew 3:13-17, Jesus was baptized as he began his earthly ministry. Throughout the New Testament, in passages such as Acts 2:41, 8:12 and 10:47-48, we see that each time someone made a commitment to follow Christ, they were immediately baptized.
Baptism also symbolizes your new life in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that when we receive God’s gift of salvation, we have new life in Christ, all old things have been washed away, all things are new! Romans 6:3-10, and Colossians 2:12, show us how baptism identifies us with the death and resurrection of Christ. When a person goes under the water, it illustrates death to their old life, and the death of Christ. As they come up from the water, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is represented, which also symbolized new life in Christ. This is why a believer’s baptism is always by total immersion.
In closing, it’s important to know that you do not need to be baptized to have Christ in your heart any more than you have to exchange rings in order to be married. However, if the inner commitment to become a believer has been made, then the outward symbol of baptism should be as valued and as visible as the ring on a newlywed’s finger.