Once we've made the decision to follow Jesus, He asks us to announce our decision to the world through the act of baptism.
The Apostle Paul spoke of the symbolism of baptism, writing:
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. - Romans 6:4-6
Our going under the water represents the death of Jesus and His burial. It's a vivid picture of the truth that our old life, which was ruled by sin, has also died along with Jesus.
But the glorious news is that the story doesn't end there!
Our coming back up out of the water represents Jesus' resurrection - His rising from the dead in His glorified, Heavenly body. As Jesus was raised from death into new life, we too have been raised from death into new life as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.
If you've never been baptized, we'd love to help you take this powerful step of obedience to Jesus!
The first modern baptism was Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist. While it's true that John the Baptist was baptizing people before that, the Bible tells us that was a different type of baptism (a baptism of repentance) that was designed to get people ready for the arrival of Jesus.
Jesus' baptism marked the beginning of His ministry on the Earth. You can read about it in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-10, and Luke 3:21-22.
The Bible tells us that baptism is how we publicly declare that we have become a follower of Jesus. It's the very first thing that Jesus asks us to do after deciding to follow Him.
To make it as simple as possible - Jesus asks us to do it and Jesus did it Himself. That's why we're baptized.
If we're going to follow Jesus, it's only logical that we gladly respond, "Yes, Lord!" to the very first thing He asks us to do.
Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change. It's a celebration and declaration of what God has already done on the inside of us.
As Jesus was hanging on the Cross, one of these thieves beside Him clearly believes that Jesus was the Son of God and had the power to save him…
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” - Luke 23:39-43
The one criminal is clearly going to spend eternity with Jesus, despite not being baptized.
That being said, it is kind of an extenuating circumstance! We have the ability to be baptized and we should do so out of obedience to Jesus.
The Bible makes it clear that baptism is something that takes place after conversion - the decision to follow Jesus. An infant is not capable of making that decision. They are not able to consider their own sinfulness, their need for a Saviour, and then make a conscious choice to repent and follow Jesus.
For that reason, any type of infant baptism is not Biblically valid and is not accomplishing what Jesus designed baptism to represent.
There is no Biblical precedent for infant baptism or any type of sprinkling. All baptism in the Bible is by full immersion in water.
We encourage the practice of dedicating infants and young children. This is the practice of having the church corporately pray over and bless the child and the child's parents. It's a public declaration by the parents that it is their desire to see their child grow up loving and serving Jesus.