For literally hundreds of years, followers of Jesus have made public declarations that they are “all in” with Jesus in a ceremony called “Baptism.” Baptism is a public declaration of faith done by a believer in the presence of a local group of Christians. Here’s some information about what Baptism is, and what it isn’t:
Baptism was a nearly universal practice in the early church.
It was not only something Jesus Himself did, but something that He called His followers to do.
Baptism was a formal response to the Gospel.
It was not done accidentally, or haphazardly. People who were baptized usually were questioned and responded with an answer to ensure they clearly understood they were making a formal stand to identify with Jesus and claim and proclaim Him as their Messiah. It was an important aspect of the salvation process (Repent and be baptized. – Acts 2:38)
Baptism was a personal response to the Gospel.
This means that it was a personal decision made by an individual, not by a tribe or family or nation. Infants, because they cannot make decisions, were not baptized.
Baptism was communal.
The result of Baptism was reception into and identification with this new community that followed Jesus. Baptism signified communion with Jesus, and therefore, with all His followers.
Baptism is a sacrament.
A sacrament is a symbolic religious activity that physically points to an invisible reality. In this case, the cleansing of a person’s physical body with water represents the cleansing of that person from sin by the miraculous power of Jesus’ sacrifice. The person going under the water is a symbolic representation of the death of their old self. Emerging from the water symbolizes the resurrection, through the power of Jesus, into new and eternal life.
It was the new mark of God’s Covenant People.
There is a link between Baptism (and the New Covenant of Jesus) and the mark of God’s old covenant with the people of Israel. Similar to the old mark, Baptism can also serve as a signpost that helps people distinguish who God has called and chosen into His beloved community, though the real signpost is the presence of the Holy Spirit.
If you’re “all in” with Jesus, and would like to be baptized, you can sign up here.
SARATOGA CAMPUS & WG EN ESPANOL