What is baptism?
Baptism is a public proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God created each of us to know and glorify Him, but our spiritual DNA, hijacked by sin, drives us away from His holy nature. We desire everything contrary to God’s holiness, and scripture teaches that the penalty or “wages” of this sin is death – eternal separation from God (see Romans 6:23). No human effort, including baptism, can compensate for our sinful state. But God, demonstrating both His justice and His love, has paid sin’s penalty for all who receive His grace. Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, lived among us, died on the cross, and was raised from the dead to pay the penalty of sin for all new life in Christ. God restores our spiritual DNA, freeing us to know and glorify Him. Baptism is a public testimony that richly symbolizes these spiritual truths. Our descent into the water visualizes our death to sin’s control, and our emergence from the water proclaims our new life in Christ.
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 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.
Romans 6:3-5, NKJV
Who should be baptized?
Since baptism is a public profession of the Christian’s personal faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial act on our behalf, only those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior should be baptized.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 3:26-27, NKJV
Why should Christians be baptized?
There are two main reasons why every person who has professed faith in Jesus Christ should be baptized.
- Jesus Christ commanded that His followers be baptized. Jesus is both Savior and Lord for every Christian, and baptism provides an opportunity for every believer to publicly submit to Christ.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit…
Matthew 28:19, NKJV
- The early church, under the leadership of the apostles, baptized every new believer. The first Christians thought it inconceivable that someone could profess faith in Jesus Christ and not be baptized – the two were inseparable. Throughout the new testament, baptism always followed salvation and faith in Christ.
But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Acts 8:12, NIV
When should Christians be baptized?
Since baptism is a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, it should be performed after one understands the Gospel, experiences God’s grace, and responds to it through faith in Jesus Christ. Baptism performed prior to these three things is representative of something other than new life in Christ and falls short of what Jesus calls us to. Many, who were baptized as infants, need not feel offended by this biblical understanding of baptism as it was performed out of the best of intentions. However, obedience to Jesus’ teachings on His terms requires that baptism be representative of faith in Him.
And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.
Acts 16:30-34, NKJV
How should Christians be baptized?
The word “baptize” literally refers to some form of immersion in water, and therefore Destiny Worship Center practices baptism by immersion. Our death to sin’s control and new life in Christ are symbolically portrayed as we descend into and emerge from the baptism waters. We recognize, however, that the essence of baptism is a public proclamation of faith and new life in Christ, and therefore Destiny Worship Center accepts some alternative modes of baptism if representative of faith and new life in Christ.