Baptism is one of the greatest, simplest, and most meaningful expressions of our faith in Christ. I’ve had the privilege of being a part of many people’s story of coming to faith in Jesus over the years. It seems as if many people who make the initial step of deciding to follow Jesus, tend to immediately put on the brakes when it comes to the first easy demonstration of that decision: getting baptized.
The reasons I’ve heard for why people do not get baptized have ranged from:
- I got baptized as a baby.
- I’m embarrassed of being in front of people.
- I need to get some things straightened up in my life first.
- I’ll do it later.
- I don’t see why I have to.
The hard part, in my opinion, is deciding that you will give your life, whatever condition it may be in, to Jesus and receiving the life and salvation that He alone offers. The one thing that the Bible asks us to do upon making that internal decision, is to demonstrate it outwardly via getting baptized. Yet this is where many balk.
The irony to me, is that getting baptized is literally as easy as falling in water. If you’ve ever jumped into a pool, you can get baptized – minus the splash.
So allow me a minute to explain what water baptism is, and why you should get baptized.
- First of all, baptism is easy. It takes approximately 20 seconds to be baptized. At LifeCity, we don’t make you give an awkward speech. We simply ask you “Have you put your faith and confidence in Jesus Christ?” To which you only need to say yes, if you have. If you haven’t, or don’t understand what that even means, let’s talk about that first. The word in the Bible for “baptize” is the Greek word “baptizo” which literally means “to dip” or “immerse.” This is why at LifeCity we do not spray people for baptism or pour water over them. There is a Greek word for that, but it has nothing to do with Biblical water baptism. It’s important that we baptize this way, because…
- Secondly, baptism is a symbol. It does not “save” a person, wash away their sins, or send them to Heaven one day. It is a picture of a relationship that you already have. When a person stands in the water, gets dipped under the water, and then brought back up it is a symbol of Jesus living, dying and being buried (under the ground…), and then rising again from the grave. But it’s also a symbol of ourselves. Baptism says, “I once lived a life outside of Christ. That life is dead and has now been buried. And now I have a new life – a life in Christ!”
- Baptism is also a choice. Like the decision to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, no one can “make” you get Biblically baptized. At LifeCity, we do not baptize children under the age of 6, and many times not even then if the child doesn’t understand, is scared, or just not ready. If you were baptized as a young child or infant, and placed your faith in Jesus later, we encourage you to get baptized again on your choice. While we celebrate the fact that your family cared enough about your spirituality to baptize you early in life, it’s time that this expression of faith was taken on your terms, not simply your parent’s. We look at getting re-baptized as a fulfillment of what your parents wanted for you in the first place, not as a disrespect toward them. Besides… if you’ve genuinely made the decision to follow Jesus, this is a simple and easy thing that God is asking of you. Why put it off? We find that most people in this situation who are afraid of what their parents will think, are usually surprised to find that their family is mostly supportive of their decision.
- And finally, baptism is a celebration! This isn’t a somber, boring, religious exercise! It’s a symbol that we’ve been made right with God through Jesus!!! It’s a picture of a new life – an abundant life in Christ. We shout, clap, cheer, hoot, whistle, and generally celebrate what baptism means. People take pictures, video, give hugs, and invite friends and family to come out for the occasion.
We are having our first baptism service at LifeCity Church on Sunday, July 27th, at our 10:30am service! If you have questions about baptism, or want to get baptized on that day, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want a picture of what people getting baptized looks like, here’s a video that might bring it all together for you.