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Water baptism is a significant milestone in the life of every Christian. At LifeHouse Church, we believe that water baptism is a biblical teaching and sacred practice for true followers of Christ.
Indeed, Jesus Himself emphasised the importance of water baptism when He gave the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (NKJV)
Jesus Himself was baptized by John in the River Jordan at the age of 30 just before the beginning of His public ministry, leaving behind an example for His followers. (Matt. 3:13-17)
Jesus told His disciples after His resurrection and just before He was taken up to heaven that they should go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that He had commanded them (Matt. 28:18-20)
The disciples obeyed Him and preached baptism along with the gospel (Acts 2:38). When people repented from their sins and believed in Jesus, they were baptized in water (Acts 2:41; 8:12,38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:15,33; 19:5; 22:16)
When Jesus told the apostles to baptise people, He meant those who had been made disciples (Matt. 28:19) When Peter preached the gospel on the day of Pentecost, he told people to repent and be baptised (Acts 2:38).
When the Ethiopian eunuch asked Philip whether he could be baptised, Philip replied that he could if he believed in Jesus with all his heart (Acts 8:37).
In other words, it is people who have repented from their sins, believed in Jesus as their Saviour and decided to follow Him as His disciples, who should be baptised in water. We can also say in another way that only those who have been born again should be baptised, because those who repent from their sins and believe in Jesus are born of God (1 John 3:9;4:7;5:1,4)
While baptism itself has no power to cleanse or save from sin, it is an important step of obedience in a believer’s life as an outward acknowledgment of the salvation experience that has already taken place.
The act of immersion and emerging from the water represents the death of our old self, and mirrors the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we come out of the water, we are identifing with the resurrection of Christ into the newness of life, and signifies that we are now a new person with the life of Christ in us (Rom 6:3,4). By going through this act we are signifying that from then on, we want to live with a clear conscience before God (1 Pet. 3:21).
As Jesus was baptised – by being immersed in water. The word “baptise” comes from the Greek word baptizo which means “to immerse or dip under water”.
“As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16
Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion under water. The book of Acts shows us that this was the norm for every believer. (Example) “….then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. When they came up out of the water…” Acts 8:38-39
As soon as you have believed! You shouldn’t delay. Believers in the New Testament were baptised the same day. As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ, they can and should be baptised. (Acts 2:41; 8:35-39)
Only once. If a Christian gets out of fellowship with the Lord because of sin, they can confess their sins and be forgiven (1 John 1:5-10); but it is not necessary to be baptised again.
Water baptism is a once-and-for-all public testimony of our identification in death, burial, and resurrection. It is not a religious ceremony that washes away our sins.
Water baptism should follow after repentance and a decision to place one’s faith in Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord. True water baptism is always a “believer’s baptism” as demonstrated in the New Testament.
The baptism of an infant is the decision of the parent. Since infants cannot repent or place their faith in Christ, infant baptism would become just a ritual. If you were baptized as an infant, you need to be baptized since you did not make a conscious choice as a disciple of Jesus.
In other words, that baptism you had gone through was not a declaration of your faith in Jesus and therefore not meaningful to you.