What Is Baptism?
Baptism is a very important sacrament in Christianity. Christ not only commanded us to baptize and be baptized (see Matthew 28:19), he set the example for us in his own baptism (see Matthew 3:13-15).
Water baptism is an act of consecration (devotion and dedication) to God. By it we testify to our conversion to the Christian faith and our spiritual cleansing by God. It is often described as an "outward sign of an inward work of grace".
Romans 6:3-5 says, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death" We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
In the early church, immersion was the usual form of baptism - that is, new Christians were completely "buried" in water. They understood this form of baptism to symbolize the death and burial of the old way of life. Coming up out of the water symbolized resurrection to new life with Christ.
Acts 2:38-41 says, "Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Baptism identifies us with Christ and with the community of believers. It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith. To be ready for baptism one should have a good understanding of the meaning of baptism, a clear experience of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, and a sincere desire to be baptized.
At Word of Hope, we like to do a number of things to help highlight the importance and meaning of this event:
What to bring: