“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” - Romans 6:3
Throughout the history of the Christian Church, Baptism has been one of the most universally accepted practices. It is a symbol of our being united with Christ in his death and resurrection. This is a sacred and beautiful opportunity to declare, “I believe the best possible way to live is the way of Jesus, and I am committed to following Christ - daily dying to myself and allowing the resurrected Christ to live in and through me.”
What is Baptism?
Baptism and communion (the Lord’s Supper) are the two ordinances prescribed by our Lord Jesus Christ as visible symbols of invisible grace. They are discernible and tangible representations of both the invisible realities of the gospel and the Spirit’s application of this gospel to our lives.
Baptism doesn't make you a believer - it is a declaration that through faith, you have already been united with Christ. Baptism does not "save" you, only your faith in Christ does that. Baptism is similar to wedding ring - it is an outward symbol of the commitment you make in your heart.
The symbolism around baptism is that of dying, being buried and being called back to life. In the historic tradition of the Church baptism involves a turning away from sin and a turning towards Jesus Christ and his Church.
Therefore, baptism is not a means of salvation; rather it is a beautiful picture of our union with Christ and our declaring that we join him in the renewal of all things!
Why should I be baptized?
To obey the commands of Christ. Jesus regarded the act of baptism to be so significant that he commissioned his Church to go all over the world baptizing disciples who believe the gospel message. "Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations," He said, "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28v19
To follow the example of Christ. Jesus modeled baptism, ”At that time Jesus came from Nazereth and was baptized by John in the Jordan." Mark 1v9
The desire to be baptized should be motivated by a desire to glorify God in faithful obedience. Any other motivation (to join a particular local church, to please a friend or family member, etc.) should not be the ultimate reason for seeking to be baptized.
Who should be baptized?
"Those who accepted His message were baptized" Acts 2v41
"Simon himself believed and was baptized" Acts 8v13
"But when they believed... they were baptized, both men and women." Acts 8v12
We practice what is called “believer’s” or “confessor’s” baptism, which means we only baptize those who believe and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Reading through Acts, we find baptism explicitly related to repentance, receiving the Word, believing and receiving the Holy Spirit.
At Gateway, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism. If you have a child that is expressing an interest in baptism, please contact our Children's Ministry Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Should a person be re-baptized?
For those who were sprinkled or immersed at an earlier age, it is important to understand that we should only be baptized once. If you trusted in Christ at that time, your baptism is valid and need not be repeated. If, however, you experienced sprinkling with or immersion in water before being born again and trusting Christ, your experience was not baptism, and thus you should be baptized. The question is therefore, “Was I truly trusting in Christ when I was baptized?”
There should always be seasons of growth and greater periods of maturity in the life of those who have trusted in the gospel. Believers must not be re-baptized each time they experience greater joy and sanctification. However, if you believe that your original experience was prior to truly trusting in Christ as Lord and Savior, you should pursue obedience in this area by being baptized now.
When should a person be baptized?
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name. - Acts 22v16
As soon as a person trusts Christ, he or she should be baptized. The Scriptures do not speak of a delayed baptism in which a regenerate believer refrains from obedience to the ordinance. In all the accounts in the Scriptures, baptism is rather immediate.
At Gateway, we ask believers who wish to be baptized to temporarily delay for a brief season while they go through a baptism class and wait for a celebration service. First, this practice allows us to discuss the gospel and the meaning of baptism and to teach our theological convictions regarding both. Second, it allows the church the opportunity to celebrate together as a congregation sharing in the joy of a person’s obedience and agreeing to walk with him or her in fellowship. Finally, it allows the person being baptized to invite family and friends who will have an opportunity to celebrate and hear the proclamation of the gospel.