Meaning: Water baptism is an act of obedience that follows conversion. It is one of the sacraments (a ceremony regarded as imparting spiritual grace). It portrays the washing away of our sins and the rising up into newness of life. The Greek word ‘baptiso’ which is the root word for “baptism” means to immerse, submerse and emerge. Water baptism therefore calls for immersion instead of sprinkling. The baptism itself does not bring salvation. Rather, salvation inspires the water baptism. It should be the first thing we do after we are “born again.” Water Baptism is also different from Holy Ghost Baptism which is also much needed for a Christian.
Jesus as our example:
Those who have received Jesus in their hearts should desire to follow Him in this ordinance (edict , decree, law, injunction, fiat, command, order). There are many patterns and practices adopted by different denominations. However, in Matthew 3, we receive a record of how Jesus was baptised and the following are apparent:
- John the Baptist was conducting water baptism and people came from various places to be baptised in river Jordan.
- John taught openly by River Jordan about the need for confession, placed a demand on his audience to bring for the fruits of repentance, not to rely on their relationship to Abraham (genealogy, tradition or culture) to claim their relationship to God, to reckon with the need to bear fruit or be prepared to be cast into fire. These teachings needed to be understood and accepted before the individual was baptised. Hence, water baptism is for those who can understand and accept the teachings.
- It was impossible for a baby or child to understand or accept these. Neither, can any parent undertake these responsibilities on behalf of a baby. Therefore, parents can dedicate their babies to the Lord with the expectation that when they grow up to the age of accountability, they will take the steps towards water baptism. This is similar to what Hannah did with Samuel (1 Samuel 1:27-28).
- Jesus Himself came to John the Baptist to receive His water baptism. It was a voluntary ‘offering of self’. Even when John attempted to dissuade him, Jesus was resolute that he wanted to be baptised. A baby or child is not able to exercise such a powerful choice.
- Even though Jesus was without sin, his mission was to take away the sins of the world (Matthew 1:21). Hence, he identifies with the ordinance of water baptism as the ‘Lamb of God’ that takes away the sins of the world.
- Jesus being baptised, went up out of water gives us the understanding that he went into water and came out of water. The heavens were opened over him. We believe that by fulfilling all righteousness, the heavens open over us and we can have a closer walk with God, have the witness of our sonship and a command to creation
Since Jesus was presented at the temple after he was weaned as a baby, went to the temple with his parents as a child, and yet had to submit himself for water baptism as an adult, we believe that anyone who receives water baptism must realise what it means to receive it; therefore, infant baptism is not Scriptural. One must repent and be saved to be baptised.
Water baptism portrays the burial of the old man and the raising out of the water into the new life in Christ. Jesus commanded the disciples to go into the whole world and make disciples who are to be baptised and taught all the things that he taught them (Matthew 28:18-20). At Word Fountain Christian Ministries, we have 4-sessions of interactive classes that are organised for those who are interested in finding out more about Christianity and be baptised. Topics include salvation, assurance, Bible and prayer, Holy Spirit and witnessing. Please call 01865402108 or 07958596340 for further details.