One of my favorite things is baptizing new believers. It brings me a lot of joy because I know that these individuals are serious about their relationship with Christ. At Avalon Church we have been privileged to baptize thousands of people since September of 2001 since we started the church. I am often asked about baptism. It is an act of obedience to God and is a symbol of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Baptism does not save a person; rather it is a symbol of commitment to the Lord. People often wonder about baptism, so here are the reasons why should you be baptized.
1. Because you have received Christ.
At Avalon, we practice “believer’s baptism.” All that means is that you get baptized after you receive Christ. The two most common questions I get asked about baptism are, “What if I was baptized as a baby or as a child,”and, “What if I got baptized before, but I feel like I just recently got saved because I was not really sure about my salvation before?”These are excellent questions.
First of all, I tell people who were baptized as a baby that believer’s baptism is different. Sometimes people feel pressure from their families because they were baptized as an infant. The reasoning is often based on an emotional family dynamic. They may feel like you are “rejecting the family” if you get baptized again. I explain that baby baptism is like a dedication of the child. (There are some that believe that infant baptism saves a person, but we do not believe the Bible teaches that. We do “baby dedications” but not baby baptisms. We believe the Bible teaches that believer’s baptism is when a person consciously follows Christ in baptism after they get saved.) So, if you were baptized as a baby and you received Christ later, then you should get baptized.
I also tell people they should get baptized if they have recently received Christ because of doubt. For example, let’s suppose that you professed faith as a young person, but recently you began to feel that you did not fully understand what you did. Since you now understand it, you prayed to receive Christ. I believe that if that has been your experience, then you should get baptized again. Let me be clear about this. I do not believe that you need to get saved again and again. I believe the Bible terminology of “being born again” only needs to happen once. Based on God’s grace and the finished work of Jesus, I get saved through faith, not because I have been a good person. The reason I encourage people to get baptized when they have this experience is to help them have the full assurance of their salvation. Nothing is more crippling in the Christian life than being unsure of your relationship to God. I believe children can receive Christ. I was saved and baptized at age eight. But not every person feels that they fully understood when they were young. For that reason, I encourage those who feel like they did not fully understand and have recently decided to follow Christ to get baptized.
2. Because Jesus was baptized.
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth and was baptized by John in the river.” (Mark 1:9)Jesus was baptized, and we should follow his example.
3. Because Jesus commanded all believers to be baptized.
“Jesus said, ‘Go then, to all people everywhere andmake them my disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…’” (Matt. 28:19-20) Jesus actually commanded his followers to get baptized. I can’t think of a more compelling reason.
4. Because it shows that I really have been saved.
“...many of the people who heard him believedand were baptized.” (Acts 18:8) I understand when people have a fear of water or a fear of being in front of lots of people. However, those are not legitimate excuses to delay getting baptized. When you get saved, you want to please Jesus and you want others to know you have followed him.
5. Because It illustrates Christ’s death and resurrection.
“Christ died for our sins... He was buried...and He rose again.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Baptism pictures how Jesus made it possible for us to be made right with God.
6. It illustrates my new life as a Christian.
“When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand-new person inside. The old life has passed away and a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) When you get saved, you have been made new! Baptism illustrates that you believe in the finished work of Jesus.
At Avalon Church we baptize by immersion because baptism in the Bible was done that way. The word baptize means “to dip under water.”
If you wish to be baptized at Avalon Church, then please let us know. Fill out a Next Step Card at church, attend the Next Step Class, send us an email, a voice mail, or a Facebook message, or speak with someone on the prayer team after church. Or better yet, you can get baptized any time we have baptism. We have clothes and towels and you can just tell us, “I want to be baptized today.” We will be thrilled about your decision!