What’s Up with Baptism?

Baptism is one of the great, enduring practices for followers of Christ down through the ages. But why? Why is that true? What’s the big deal about a little water?

What is Baptism?

Baptism is a sacrament (one of two – the other being Communion or The Lord’s Supper) – a tangible experience of our relationship with God.

Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the Covenant of Grace, representing Christ and all His benefits. They confirm our relationship to Him and represent a visible difference between those who belong to the Jesus and those who haven’t yet given their lives to Him. There is a spiritual or sacramental relationship in the sacraments between the sign (water and bread and wine) and what is signified. The power revealed in the sacraments does not reside in them or in the one administering them, but is in the work of the Holy Spirit and in the promise of God who gives benefits to those who worthily receive them. Thus, the sacraments are powerful and effective in the life of the recipient because of God’s Word which instituted them. For this reason, the sacraments should not be neglected or omitted.

By the act of baptism, a person becomes a part of the visible church, for it is a sign and a seal of the covenant of grace for believers and their children. As a sign, it proclaims God’s forgiveness and our redemption in Jesus Christ. As a seal, God marks us as adopted children of our heavenly Father. It indicates our engrafting into Christ, our rebirth, the remission of sins, and our ability by the power of the Spirit to walk in newness of life.

Why do we baptize people?

And Jesus came and said to them,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all thatI have commanded you. And behold,I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

In the life of the committed Christ-follower it’s an outward sign of an inward transformation

In the life of the child it’s a tangible witness that even before we can respond to God’s initiative for a relationship, He claims us! Children belong first and foremost to God.

Just like Eustace needed Aslan the Lion to take off his dragon skin and cleanse him in the water in C S Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so we affirm that we need Jesus to wash us and make us clean – for we aren’t good enough to clean up our own lives.

Jesus did it! So must we if we’re to follow Him!

How Do I Get Baptized?

It all starts with a desire to become a follower of Jesus and a willingness to publicly acknowledge your faith in Him. If you want to explore more about becoming a Christ-follower check out the info on our Salvation page or get in touch with our associate pastor  Dave McGurk.

Once you’ve made the decision that you’d like to declare your faith publicly through the Sacrament of Baptism, let our office know and set up an appointment to meet with one of our pastors to talk through the details. They’ll share your desire with our Elders who ultimately sign off on all baptism requests and a date will be scheduled – usually for a time during one of our Sunday morning worship services.

How Can I Have My Child Baptized?

We baptize the children of committed Christ-followers in affirming their inclusion in God’s covenant of grace with us – even before they can choose themselves to embrace it.

For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. Acts 2:39

If you’ve made the commitment to follow Jesus and you would like to have your child baptized please get in touch with our associate pastor Dave McGurk.The process is similar to that described above.

For a unique perspective on the practice of infant baptism, check out this blog post from an ECO Elder, Dave Reichelderfer, entitled, The Beautiful Blessing of Infant Baptism.

Other Next Steps