What is Baptism?
For those who are new to the saving faith of Jesus (or now have new understanding of saving faith) we believe that baptism by immersion is the biblical response to faith. In the New Testament, the Greek word for baptism is “baptizo,” meaning to plunge, dip, or immerse. In every baptism account in the New Testament, the mode we see is immersion. Jesus Himself was immersed and calls those who profess saving faith in Him to be baptized as well. Baptism does not produce salvation, but rather, it is a result of it. Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And that is not of your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works.”
Baptism is an outward display of an inward transformation, and is for everyone who has put his or her faith in Christ. As we see in Romans 6, baptism
is symbolic of someone dying to him or herself, being buried with Christ, and becoming a new creation. Baptism is not a prerequisite to
salvation (Ephesians 2:8, 9;Luke 23:39-43) and baptism is an act of obedience (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 2:41; 18:8).
If you have never been baptized by immersion, but have confessed faith in Christ, we encourage you to be baptized. Since Jesus modeled and commanded it, we want to participate and be obedient to that. We view baptism as a sacrament which means it is a ceremony that is considered both sacred and a commandment from our Lord to be obeyed. Baptism marks an important milestone in your journey of faith.
The Metaphor of Baptism
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." - Romans 6:1-4, (NASB)
The moment we trust Christ as Savior, we are forever more identified with Him. That identification can be related, specifically, to three events in our Lord’s experience. Namely …
A. His Death (Romans 6:3, 5) When you stand in the water, it symbolizes that the old, “sinful man” has died, having been crucified with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
B. His Burial (Romans 6:4) When you are led under the water, it symbolizes that the “old man” has been laid to rest, having been buried with Christ.
C. His Resurrection (Romans 6:4-5, 8) When you are raised up out of the water, it symbolizes that the “new man” is now wonderfully alive in you and that you desire now to live for and with Christ (Galatians 2:20).
The Motive for Baptism
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” - Matt 28:19-20, (NASB)
Our motive to be baptised is simple -- to confess our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Acts 18:8). It is a public acknowledgement and declaration that you personally believe and have trusted in God for your life and salvation. Thus, the only requirement for baptism is that you have knowingly and of your own free will surrendered your heart and life to Jesus Christ. That is, you have invited Him to “save” you from your sins, to take full control of your life and to one day receive you into His kingdom, into eternal life. Another motive is to mark our agreement with the commandment of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38). In Jesus’ last instructions to His disciples, He commanded them to go into all the world and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In this way, true believers would be unmistakably identified, both with Christ and with one another, i.e., the family of God, by their obedience to this command.
Since baptism is a personal and public expression of one’s own faith, we believe that the decision to be baptized must be made by individuals in accordance with their faith. If a person has been baptized previously, yet not by conscious choice of their own free will (e.g., perhaps as an infant, etc.), we believe that upon a mature profession of personal faith, the individual should have the option of being baptized again. However, once an individual has been baptized in the manner described in this document, there is no need or biblical instruction to be baptized at any other time in his/her life.
If you would like more information on the process of baptism at Mosaic, CLICK HERE.