Here are five common questions about water baptism.
What is Water Baptism?
Water Baptism is the outward expression of an inward commitment to Christ. It’s a public declaration that Jesus has changed your life! In the Gospel accounts, we see people being baptized in water. Many people were baptized as disciples of John the Baptist prior to Jesus’ public ministry. Following Jesus’ public ministry and after His death and resurrection, we see new believers baptized as a part of their faith in Jesus Christ.
Why do I need to go under the water?
There is a significant symbolism that is encapsulated in going underwater. Submersion in the water symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. When we go under the water, we are dying to our old self, leaving that in the “grave” and coming up as a new creation, alive in Christ.
Do I need to do it in front of others, or can I do it by myself?
Water baptism is the public declaration of our faith. Often when we give our lives to Jesus it is a private moment, and we may not tell people right away. Being baptized in front of others shows that you’ve decided to follow Jesus, and allows them to celebrate this decision with you. We want others to celebrate alongside us and help hold us accountable to the faith we profess.
I was baptized as an infant, do I need to do it again?
As parents, we can help lead our children to Jesus, but they have to make the decision to follow Jesus on their own. At River Valley, we encourage parents with infants or young children to consider Child Dedication. Jesus was dedicated as a baby (Luke 2:22-23) and then later, as an adult, made the decision to be baptized in water (Luke 3:21-22). We make a distinction between these two as a child dedication and a believer’s water baptism. When someone gives their life to Jesus as their Lord and Savior, as seen throughout the New Testament and early church, they are asked to be baptized in water. It is their outward expression, by their own decision, to be baptized as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
What if I don’t want to be baptized or I’m not ready?
If you’re hesitant about getting water baptized, we would encourage you to look through the scriptures and read about the significance of water baptism. Jesus set the ultimate example for our lives in every way and He went public about His love for us. If our Lord and Savior was baptized in water as an adult in front of others, should we not follow Him in that way? Water baptism is not simply about getting dunked underwater, it is a spiritually transformational moment where you declare that the old life is gone, and the new life in Christ has come!