Theology of Baptism

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I. WHO?

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins, and that He was forever raised back to life three days later should be baptized. The Rock is committed to Believer’s Baptism and therefore we encourage believers who were baptized as infants to be baptized again.

II. WHY?

Baptism is a powerful public statement of love and obedience to Jesus Christ. Before Jesus ascended into Heaven He commanded His disciples to baptize those who believe in Him (Matthew 28:19). Jesus also said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15). Therefore, if you believe that Jesus died for your sins and if you love Him, you will obey His command to be baptized.

III. WHAT?

When we first believe and put our trust in Jesus Christ we are “born from above” by being baptized by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8; 1Corinthians 12:12-13). This “new birth” is the beginning of eternal life, which never ends. Water Baptism is the way in which Jesus commanded us to publicly affirm that we have been “born again” by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Water Baptism has no magical qualities. It does not save us or change us. Nevertheless, Jesus commands us to be baptized so that through Water Baptism we might publicly testify to our private conversion.

Water Baptism is rich with symbolism that reaches all the way back to Noah and the flood and is fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Genesis 7 Noah and his family were baptized by a flood, which cleansed the earth of the sin and wickedness of humanity. Once the flood waters receded, Noah and his family were brought through that baptism to a new beginning and new life (1Peter 3:17-22). In Exodus 14 God used Moses to lead Israel out of slavery and fear in Egypt. As they crossed through the Baptism waters of the Red Sea they were given freedom and hope (1Corinthians 10:1-4). In Luke 3 Jesus identifies with His people by being baptized in the Jordan River as a way to inaugurate His ministry as the Messiah. All of these Baptisms serve to foreshadow Christ’s death and resurrection. For when Jesus died he took our sin, wickedness, slavery, and fear into His own body (1Peter 2:24). And, by His resurrection, Jesus gives us a new beginning, new life, freedom and hope.

IV. WHEN?

There is no predetermined waiting period between the moment you become a Christian and the time you are baptized. So long as you truly believe that Jesus died on the Cross and was raised back to life for the forgiveness of your sins, and you desire to surrender your life to God, you can be baptized. In Acts 8:36 an Ethiopian eunuch asked the disciple Philip if anything should prevent him from being baptized immediately after having become a Christian. Philip responded by baptizing him immediately, mere moments after his conversion. In fact, throughout the book of Acts the norm seems to be Baptism without delay. It is important to remember that Baptism is the beginning of a spiritual journey, not the end. The Rock is committed to baptizing believers the first Sunday they are ready.

V. HOW?

The Rock is committed to baptism by full immersion. By going under and out from the water the meaning of the symbolism of baptism is most fully captured.

VI. WHERE?

Ministry of John the Baptist:

(Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:4-8; Luke 3:1-20; John 1:19-29)

Baptism of Jesus:

(Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34)

Jesus’ Commission of Baptism:

(Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18)

Teaching on Baptism:

(Romans 6:1-11; 1Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 3:23-29; Colossians 2:9-15; 1Peter 3:17-22)

Examples of Baptism:

(John 4:1-2; Acts 2:36-42; Acts 8:4-13, Acts 8:26-40; Acts 9:1-19; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 16:11-15; Acts 16:25-34; Acts 18:5-11; Acts 19:1-7; 1Corinthians 1:10-17)