In water baptism we publicly display what Jesus modeled through his death, burial, and resurrection. It is our outward expression of the inward change that has taken place in our life; our public declaration of how Jesus changed our life and is our pledge to allow our old nature to die.
The Apostle Paul teaches us through baptism the old life is put away and a new life emerges. He says that baptism is like a circumcision not done by human hands, but a circumcision of our sin nature, done by Christ.
"Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead." (Colossians 2:11-12)
The Apostle Peter says that Christ paid the price to free us from sin. He stresses that baptism doesn't save us. Rather, it is the "resurrection of Jesus Christ" that saves us. He affirms that the act of water baptism is the pledge of a clear conscience towards God and through it we identify with the power of the cross and resurrection to deliver us completely from the power and authority of sin.
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." (1 Peter 3:18-22)
If you have already decided to follow Jesus, water baptism is the next step - why wait! Anyone who commits his or her life to following Jesus is ready to be water baptized.
We can all help point children to Jesus, but they, under the guidance of their parents, are the ones to decide if they will commit their lives to Him (Romans 10:9). Water baptism should follow a child's decision to trust Jesus for his or her salvation and commitment to follow Him (Acts 10:47-48). At New City Church, we encourage children who are old enough to express their own salvation experience and can verbalize their understanding of the meaning of water baptism, without parental prompting, to be water baptized.
Click HERE for more tips on talking to your kids about water baptism. You can also discuss your concerns with one of our children's pastors. To get in touch with Pastor Sean Cowan, click HERE. For Pastor Dena Cowan, click HERE.
Water baptism in the Bible is by full immersion. The original word for baptism most often referred to being immersed or submerged in water. Jesus was water baptized by being immersed in the water and rising up out of it (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10).
Submersion in water symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Being submersed underwater represents our death to sin and old way of life, as well as being raised out of the water is a picture of how Jesus raised us and gave us a fresh start in life (Romans 6:3-5).
If you haven’t been water baptized by immersion since you decided to follow Jesus, we want to help you take this next step. Once you have, there’s no need to be water baptized again.
God never asks us to take a next step that isn’t good for us. He always gives us more than we deserve or can imagine, including the joy we receive from listening to Him and doing what He says.