Many people have questions about baptism. Should I be immersed or sprinkled? Is baptism for babies, or people old enough to make that choice? Is it necessary for my salvation?
If you’re struggling with the question of whether to be baptized, look closely at the meaning behind it. Honestly ask yourself, “Is this just a man-made religious boundary marker, or a biblical truth that God is asking me to live by?”
To help you determine the answer, consider these common questions:
How should I be baptized?
While some churches sprinkle, baptism by being dunked was the undisputed church practice for the first 1,300 years of church history. In fact, no early denominational church leaders argued that point. The very word “baptism” means “to immerse” and that’s what the Bible records, so Community believes that if you’re physically able, you should get completely dunked.
Should we baptize infants, or people mature enough to make a faith decision?
Some churches baptize infants. Some choose not to baptize infants. While Christians can debate this, we should never divide over it. Many current Community attendees were baptized as babies. At Community, we don’t baptize infants because every baptism recorded in the Bible occurred when someone was old enough to make a faith decision. Jesus blessed kids, but he didn’t baptize them.
If I was baptized as an infant in another church, should I get baptized again?
Your infant baptism was certainly a very special moment for your family. But at Community, infant baptism is similar to what we call “child dedication.” Once you personally come to an age where you can decide for yourself to follow Christ, believer’s baptism is the next step. Don’t be afraid to get re-baptized as an act of worship and obedience to Christ.
Does the water wash away my sins?
Whether it’s water in a lake or water in a tub, there’s nothing special about the water that is used for baptism. The Bible is clear that we are saved by God’s grace, not by baptism, not by our own works. Baptism is not salvation; Christ’s blood on the cross is really what washes away sins and pays our debt. It’s better to think of it like this: baptism is to salvation as a wedding ceremony is to a marriage. It’s an external declaration of an internal event. We believe there is a transformation that takes place in us when we are water baptized.
Do you have to be baptized to be a Christ-follower?
It’s clearly established in the Bible that you become a Christian by accepting God’s free gift of grace. For example, the thief on the cross hanging beside Jesus was saved on the spot and was never baptized. While baptism is not what saves us, baptism is necessary in that Christ commands it. All genuine Christ-followers should want to obey Jesus by doing what he said, and by doing what he did. Even Jesus, the perfect Son of God, showed us the importance of baptism by being baptized himself.
What if I still believe it’s a technicality?
If you’re holding off on being baptized because you feel it is unnecessary, take some time to examine your motives and pray for God to help you grasp His heart on baptism. Ask yourself, “Why is it that I don’t want to be baptized? Am I willfully disobeying?” If you’re waiting for God to directly prompt you to be baptized, you need not wait any longer. He already makes that challenge to each Christ-follower by his Word.