The act of baptism is a ceremony in which a new believer is fully immersed in water to symbolize their new life in Christ.

On the Day of Pentecost, two thousand years ago, something was set in motion that forever transformed the world. It began as the Holy Spirit fell up on the fledgling group of Jesus’ disciples with supernatural power and boldness to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind.

THE MESSAGE IS SIMPLE

We are all sinners who are incapable of fixing ourselves. But God, in His mercy, did not leave us to be condemned; instead, He sent His Son Jesus to earth to pay the penalty we could not. Though innocent, He was killed. This was no accident; Jesus chose this fate on our behalf, taking on Himself the punishment that we deserved[1].

But He didn’t stay dead. After three days, Jesus rose again – conquering sin and death once and for all. As the gathered thousands listened attentively to the Apostle Peter’s words, they could no longer contain themselves, finally crying out “what shall we do?[2]

TURN FROM OUR OLD WAY OF LIVING

Peter responded by saying “repent and be baptized[3].” Repentance requires us to turn away from sin and our old way of living. Salvation comes as we make this life-altering decision to surrender our life to Jesus. The Apostle Paul further described this process by declaring that “if you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved[4].”

After the call to repentance in Acts 2:38, these new believers are instructed to be baptized. The act of baptism is a ceremony in which a new believer is fully immersed in water to symbolize their new life in Christ. Jesus Himself was baptized at the beginning of His earthly ministry[5], commanded us to continue this practice[6], and, as a result, we see it practiced throughout the New Testament as people gave their lives to Him[7].

Over three thousand people were baptized that day and the Church was formed. And, for two millennia, the Church has continued to preach this message of salvation and invite those who hear to repent and be baptized.

However, for some the role of baptism can be confusing. The Bible is clear that we are saved by grace through faith alone[8], so what role does baptism play in our salvation? It is clearly important since Jesus both modeled it and commanded it, but where does it fit?

SALVATION: COVENANT BETWEEN GOD AND MAN

Salvation is a covenant between God and man, which the book of Ephesians compares to the covenant of marriage[9]. Marriage is the covenant that unites a husband and wife. But in virtually every culture there is also an accompanying ceremony called a wedding. In fact, the two terms are often synonymous – the covenant and its ceremony. Similarly, salvation is an eternal covenant with God in which we are united with Christ, and baptism is the accompanying ceremony.

OLD STAINS OF SIN WASHED AWAY FOREVER

There is something that happens when a new husband or wife makes a public declaration of marriage, surrounded by the imagery inherent in a wedding – the white dress, the rings, even the order of service – all reinforcing the importance of this new union.

Baptism is the same – a new believer publicly declares their new life in Jesus while surrounded by powerful imagery of the new covenant. Colossians 2:12-14 describes that the act of going under the water symbolizes our old life is dead, crucified with Christ. Then, as we emerge, we rise into new life, with the old stains of sin washed away forever.

HAVE YOU TAKEN THIS STEP YET?

At Antioch, the only requirement for baptism is that you have made a decision to surrender your life to Jesus. Baptism happens everywhere in our church – Lifegroups, Sunday services, and a dedicated baptism service. If would like to be baptized, please fill out this form and we will be in contact to help you take the next step.

[1] Acts 2:22-35

[2] Acts 2:36

[3] Acts 2:37-38

[4] Romans 10:9-10

[5] Matthew 3:13-17

[6] Matthew 28:19

[7] Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12, Acts 8:36, Acts 9:18, Acts 10:48, Acts 16:15, Acts 16:33, Acts 18:8, Acts 19:5

[8] Ephesians 2:8-9

[9] Ephesians 5:22-32