Romans 6:3-5: “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, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
- Baptism is a public statement that we have chosen to fully embrace the impact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we choose to be baptized, we recognize that we have been set free from sin and are now slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18).
Romans 6:4: “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”
- Precedence for baptism – Jesus himself was baptized. In Matthew 3:13 we read: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John”. This was a foreshadowing of his death, burial, and resurrection, and it announced the beginning of his ministry on earth.
- Jesus called us to follow him in being baptized. Matthew 28:19–20 records Jesus’ words: “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.”
- Belief is a prerequisite to baptism. Acts 8:35-38 explains, “And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. And as they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
- There are several other scriptures that speak to baptism. Acts 2:38: “And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” // Acts 22:16: “‘And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’”
- Baptism does not save us. Baptism does not save us, only our faith in Christ can do that. Ephesians 2:8-9 states: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
What is baptism?
Christian baptism is a prophetic act in which a believer is immersed in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing our spiritual union with Christ and our faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior. It signifies our death to sin, our burial of our old life, and the resurrection of walking in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is the sign and seal of the covenant that God makes with his people, and it is oriented toward our participation in the eschatological family of God.
Baptism is also a testimony to our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – it is a divinely given means for us to publicly declare our faith in Jesus and our intention to follow him on the road of discipleship.
Mode of Baptism: While the mode of baptism (sprinkling, pouring, or full immersion) varies among Christian religious traditions, we choose to practice full immersion baptism at River House. This means that believers are briefly dipped under water before symbolically rising up in new life. This mode is supported historically, theologically, and exegetically. The word “baptism” comes from the Greek term baptizo, meaning “to immerse”, in contrast to the word hrazntizo, which means “to sprinkle”. The New Testament also points to baptism by immersion (Acts 8:39, Matthew 3:16). While there is certainly symbolic value in the forms of baptism, we believe that baptism by immersion is the most clear depiction of what the ordinance of baptism is meant to represent – the believers union with Christ through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Essentially: As you go down fully under the water it symbolizes the death to your old life (identifying with the death of Jesus) and that your sins having been forgiven and washed away. As you come out of the water, it symbolizes a resurrection of a new life (identifying with Christ in the resurrection).
Important Questions to Ask Prior to Baptism
- Have you made a decision to allow Christ to be your Lord and Savior?
- Are you willing to follow Him as your Lord the rest of your life?
- What makes you want to be baptized at this time?