Water Baptism

What Is Water Baptism?

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)

Ready to be Baptized?

If you have already decided to follow Jesus, water baptism is the next step - why wait! Anyone who commits his or her life to follow Jesus is ready to be water baptized.

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Should Children 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.

Talking to Kids About Water Baptism

ASk your child a few questions.

Water baptism comes after salvation, so start with the basics: Can you tell me who Jesus is? What did He do for you? Here’s one way to explain salvation in a way kids can understand:

  • God loves you and He loves me!  He made us and knows everything about us. (Psalm 139)
  • When we mess up and do wrong things, it’s called sin.  We deserve to be punished for those things, but when we follow Jesus, He takes the punishment for us. (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
  • To follow Jesus, you have to admit that you’re a sinner and that you’ve messed up.  You need to tell God you’re sorry and want to change. (Acts 3:19)
  • God loves you so much He sent His son Jesus to Earth.  Jesus took the punishment for the sin of everyone who believes in him by dying on a cross.  But Jesus didn’t stay dead! God brought Jesus back to life.  To follow Jesus, you have to believe Jesus died for you, that God brought Jesus back to life for you, and you have to want to change.  (Romans 10:9-10)
  • Finally, we commit to following Jesus by praying a prayer: God, I know you love me.  I admit I have done wrong things, and I am truly sorry.  I believe in my heart that Jesus, died for me and You brought Him back to life.  I commit to follow You.  Jesus, You are my leader, my friend, and the Lord of my life! Amen.

If your child has accepted jesus, explain what water baptism.

Here are some suggestions and places to point to in their Bible:

  • Now that you’ve committed to follow Jesus, you can let others know by getting water baptized. (Mark 16:16)
  • Water baptism takes place in the water.  It’s a picture of what Jesus did when He took the punishment for your sins.  When you go under the water, it shows people that you believe Jesus died for you.  When you come out of the water, you show others that you believe God brought Jesus back to life. (Romans 6:4)
  • Getting saved and then water baptized doesn’t mean your life will be perfect.  There will be times when you will sin and make wrong choices.  When this happens, pray and ask Jesus to forgive you and help you.  Jesus took the punishment for all our sins.  That means even though you will sin again, you don’t need to be saved or water baptized again. (1 Peter 3:18)
  • You can follow Jesus every day by reading the Bible, doing what Jesus says, and praying. (Psalm 1:2)

Facilitate, don’t dominate.

Kids are naturally curious. Commit to answer every question, no matter how silly, and let you child ask lots of questions.

walking with Jesus is not a race.

Water baptism is the first step after salvation for everyone, kids included. But it's possible your child might not be ready. And that’s OK! It's always better to wait than to pressure children to take a step they don't understand.

As parents, we often want to make things happen for our kids.

Our hearts are in the right place. We want what is best for our kids. But water baptism is about their faith, not ours. What we choose and they do might last for a while, but what they choose and they do will last forever.

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.

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What’s The Difference Between Immersion And Sprinkling?

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 3:16Mark 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).

Do I Need To Be Water Baptized Again?

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.