Water Baptism: Taking a Powerful Next-Step in Your Spiritual Journey

You’ve taken the leap! You've embraced the message of hope and eternal life that only Jesus can offer, you asked Him for forgiveness and declared Him the King of your Life. Now you're stepping into a journey of pursuing Him one step at a time. This new relationship takes on a supernatural significance as you begin to understand the depth of the sacrificial act of Jesus, giving His life, so that we might truly live.

This revelation leads us to the question "What is our next step?". The Bible teaches us that the first act of obedience for followers of Jesus is to turn from our old ways and begin to seek Him first in our life (Matt 6:33). This starts with taking our newly declared allegiance to Jesus public. That's right! We're called to make a public declaration of our inward faith through the act of Water Baptism. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”  These simple words are the foundation for a healthy, life-long relationship with Jesus.

The Journey Begins
Jesus, in His teachings, emphasized a pivotal step for those who choose to follow Him: water baptism. In Matthew 28:19, He instructed His disciples, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit." This baptism isn't just a ritual; it signifies a transformation of heart and spirit.

The Core Belief
To be a disciple of Jesus is to repent and believe in His divine identity as the only Son of God, who willingly went to the cross to provide forgiveness for the sins of humanity. By accepting these truths, you've become a disciple—a follower of Jesus.

Furthermore, Jesus highlighted the importance of water baptism in Mark 16:16, saying, "Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved..." This places water baptism at the forefront of the journey of every follower of Jesus.

Understanding Water Baptism
Water baptism isn't merely a ritualistic act; it carries profound symbolism. Just as Jesus was buried in a tomb and resurrected, water baptism symbolizes the burial of your old self, riddled with sin, and your emergence as a new creation in Christ. It visually represents a transformation that has already occurred within your heart.

This symbolic act is a declaration of defiance against the former sinful nature that once held sway over your life. It signifies your embrace of the new godly nature bestowed upon you when you embraced Christ. Paul said it this way to the Romans, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism.  And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.  Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was” (Romans 6:4-5).

A Testament to a New Identity
Water baptism signifies your identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It underscores the incredible significance of Jesus' sacrifice, wherein He, the sinless Son of God, took on the punishment for the world's wrongdoings, died on the cross, and rose again after three days. This act reshapes your identity, marking you as a new creation.

In the Old Testament, worship often manifested through visible rituals, such as burnt offerings and circumcision. However, Jesus' sacrifice rendered these obsolete. The New Testament emphasizes internal virtues, like love, joy, and self-control. Water baptism serves as an external expression of the profound change occurring within you.

“When you came to Christ, you were ‘circumcised,’ but not by a physical procedure.  It was a spiritual procedure—the cutting away your sinful nature.  For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized.  And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12).

By participating in water baptism, you demonstrate your willingness to obey Jesus and outwardly express your inner commitment. Water baptism holds spiritual significance when it follows a genuine transformation.

Before considering baptism:
Repentance from Sins: Repentance involves turning away from sin, acknowledging your wrongdoing, and seeking God's forgiveness. It's a rejection of sin's hold on your life.

Faith in Jesus Christ: Faith is a bedrock of Christianity. It involves an unwavering belief in Jesus as the Son of God who died to save humanity from sin.

The Baptism
During the baptism, you'll be asked whether you've accepted Jesus into your heart. Upon affirmation. The person performing the baptism will declare, "Based on your confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

In Conclusion
Water baptism holds immense spiritual and symbolic significance in the life of a believer. It's a step of obedience, commitment, and proclamation—a public declaration of your allegiance to Jesus Christ. While not obligatory, it's a deeply fulfilling event that illustrates your inner transformation.

So, as you journey through faith, remember the call of Jesus to be baptized. Let the waters symbolize your old life's burial and the emergence of your new identity in Christ. Just as the apostles recognized the importance of baptism, so too does every believer today. As you take this step, remember that it signifies your obedience, your commitment, and your affirmation of the extraordinary transformation that Jesus' love has brought into your life.

Common Questions About Water Baptism

What if I've been baptized before?
If you were a Christian at the time of your prior baptism, there's usually no need to be baptized again. However, if you weren't a Christian at the time, or if you've strayed from the faith, a new baptism is appropriate.

What about sprinkling?
While sprinkling has become a tradition in many churches, the New Testament notion of baptism points towards complete submersion, as evidenced by the original word for baptism, "baptize."

What about infant baptism?
Biblically, baptism requires repentance and faith, which infants can't express. It's better to wait until one fully understands the significance of baptism.

Is water baptism mandatory?
Water baptism isn't mandatory for salvation; the thief on the cross beside Jesus attests to this. However, it's a significant step of obedience and an external affirmation of your inner transformation.

What should I wear?
Most wear shorts or pants and a dark t-shirt.

Will people cry? Will I cry?
Water baptism can evoke tears of joy from those witnessing it. It's an emotionally charged event for both the participant and observers.

How long will I be under water?
Baptism involves a swift submersion, usually accompanied by the baptizer's support.


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