Baptism is a very important step in your Christian faith. If you would like to be baptized or have questions about baptism, our pastor, Nathan Elliott, would be glad to talk with you. Visit our contact page to get in touch.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is the lowering of a person under water and raising them out of the water to symbolize the beginning of a new life of devotion to God. This act is connected to repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ and is therefore offered only to those who are old enough to make a decision to put their faith in Jesus. Mount Freedom does not baptize babies, but only those who consciously choose baptism by faith.
So what is baptism? What does it represent and who should be baptized?
A Way to Imitate Jesus
Did you know that Jesus was baptized? His cousin John was surprised by this too. When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John said, “You should be baptizing me instead.” But Jesus insisted that it was necessary in order to “fulfill all righteousness,” or in other words, “to do all that God wants his followers to do.” If Jesus was baptized in order to do all that His Father requires, shouldn’t you be baptized too?
A Way to Obey Jesus
In the Gospel of Matthew, the last thing Jesus told his disciples to do was to go into all the world and make disciples of all people everywhere. He told his disciples to make disciples. He explained that making a disciple involved two things: 1) baptizing a person and 2) teaching the person to obey Jesus’ commands. Baptism must be important to Jesus! When Jesus explained what it meant to become a disciple, the first of two things he required was to be baptized. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, you need to be baptized.
An Act of Washing from Sin
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ coming by preaching “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). By turning from our sins to God through baptism, God graciously forgives us of our sins. When the apostle Peter preached the first ever sermon in the brand new church, his hearers asked, “What should we do?” He responded, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). The water of baptism symbolizes a washing from the filth of sin. Don’t you want your sins washed away through Jesus Christ? Then, as Ananias said to Paul, “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16).
An Act of Uniting with Jesus
In Romans 6 the apostle Paul says, “we were buried with [Christ] 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.” When we are lowered under the water in baptism, it is like being lowered into the grave with Jesus. When we come up out of the water in baptism, it is like coming out of the grave in resurrection glory with Jesus. This is how our sins are taken away from us. Baptism represents the end of our old life and the beginning of the new by the miracle of God’s grace through Christ. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” That is what baptism represents. Don’t you want to lose your sinful and selfish life and be lost in the beautiful life of Jesus? Be baptized.
A Preparation for the Spirit
John baptized to prepare people for the coming of Jesus. Jesus’ disciples baptized to prepare people for the coming of the Spirit. In Acts 2, after telling his hearers to repent and be baptized, Peter immediately says, “and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This is how the new life begins in us. We are cleansed from our sin when by faith we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection, and so we become a holy temple fit for the Spirit of God to live in. This is mind-renewing and life-transforming! The Spirit of God desires to live in you and biblical baptism, as an act of repentance and faith, opens the door for his coming. Be baptized.
You can imitate and obey Jesus, be forgiven of your sins, be united with Jesus in his death and resurrection, and become a living temple of the Holy Spirit, all by being baptized as an act of faith in and surrender to Jesus. Why would you wait? Believe. Repent. Be baptized.