Baptism in the Bible
What Does the Bible Say About Baptism?
A person doesn’t have to hang around church very long before they hear the word “baptism”. Many wonder what baptism is, what it means, and who should be baptized. Also, where does scripture talk about Baptism in the Bible? As a person exploring faith, or someone who considers themselves a follower of Jesus, it’s important to understand this foundational tenant of the church.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a symbolic expression of one’s faith involving water. This can happen in multiple ways. A person can be immersed, sprinkled, or have water poured onto their heads. But, regardless of the mode of baptism, the symbolic meaning for the person being baptized is the same.
Baptism represents the washing away of a person’s sins or old life. The act of baptism is a physical way to declare one’s faith in Jesus. Baptism in the Bible is a public expression of God’s work in a person’s life. In this way, it’s similar to a marriage ceremony. A marriage ceremony is a symbolic representation of a commitment between two individuals. The marriage ceremony is a powerful and public act declaring a couple’s lifelong commitment. Similarly, a person publicly declares and confirms their commitment to Christ through baptism.
Baptism in the Bible
In the book of Acts, Peter encouraged a crowd to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38). Later, the apostle Paul was encouraged to be baptized to “wash away” his sins during his conversion experience (Acts 22:16).
Later, the apostle Paul further explains what Baptism represents. He 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). When a person is baptized, it represents allowing their old life and old ways of thinking/acting to die on the cross with Jesus. Then, just as Jesus was raised from the dead, a person will raise out of the water a “new creation“.
Jesus and Baptism
Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:16). John didn’t feel worthy to baptize Jesus because he clearly had no sins needing cleansing. But, Jesus said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness”(Mat. 3:15). In this Jesus was setting an example for all future followers of Jesus for baptism. Later, in what is known as the Great Commission, Jesus encouraged baptism as a part of the process for new believers. He said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”(Matt. 28:19).
Baptism is a mysteriously powerful symbolic act that declares faith in God. It is a public act representing a private decision. If you have questions about baptism or are thinking about baptism, we’d love to help.
You can click HERE to learn more about baptism at Vienna Presbyterian Church.
October 29, 2018