The Biblical Foundations for Baptism
The final instruction Jesus gave His disciples and the last recorded words He spoke before His ascension to heaven reveal the value and importance He placed on Baptism.
In Matthew 28:19 [NKJV], Jesus commands His followers “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Baptism is not the same as salvation itself but serves to identify publicly that an individual is indeed a follower of Jesus Christ.
The following passages show the pattern of baptism following an individual’s decision to accept Christ as Saviour and trust in Him alone for salvation.
Acts 2:41 [NIV translation] “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
Acts 8:12 [NKJV translation] “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.”
Acts 10:47-48 [The Message translation] “Then Peter said, “Do I hear any objections to baptizing these friends with water? They’ve received the Holy Spirit exactly as we did.” Hearing no objections, he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.”
While we respect the practices and traditions of other churches regarding infant christening, the New Testament records the Baptisms of adult believers only. In the Book of Romans, Paul the Apostle describes the immersion of Baptism as a means through which the believer identifies with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ [Romans 6:1-11]. Going under the water represents Christ’s death and a believer’s death to sin; coming up out of the water illustrates His resurrection and the believer’s new life in Christ according to 2 Corinthians 5:17 [NJKV] “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Baptism is an act of obedience to Christ that follows an individual’s acceptance of salvation by God’s grace alone.
Baptism is not a prerequisite for salvation. However, if an inner commitment to trust Christ alone for salvation has been made, then the outward symbol of that commitment – Baptism – should follow, as is modelled throughout the New Testament in the lives of those choosing to follow Christ.
Scriptural teaching on Baptism may be summarised as follows;
- Baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Christ, fulfilled by individuals who have submitted themselves to His sovereignty.
- Baptism symbolises the spiritual cleansing through divine forgiveness and the newness of life believers experience by virtue of their identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.
- Baptism provides an opportunity for believers to make formal profession of their faith before the church.
Surfside Church encourages Christian parents to present their children for Dedication to the Lord where the blessing of the Lord is informally proclaimed over the child, and the parents publicly commit themselves to raise the child in accordance with the Ways of Jesus and the teachings of Scripture.
Because the symbolism of Baptism requires a more adult level of cognitive and developmental readiness, we encourage children to be at least 12 years old to be formally Baptised. Proverbs 20:25 issues a significant caution against the danger of making a vow before adequate knowledge, forethought, and reflection have been given. In an effort to prevent young people from making a premature commitment they may not fully understand, this minimum age has been established.
Baptism recognizes and celebrates the redemptive life change that is continually occurring within our church. We encourage new believers and believers who have not yet participated in adult Baptism to be baptized by immersion. Our position is that Baptism by immersion paints the truest picture of dying to sin and arising to Christ and new life.
Infant Baptism and SURFSIDE CHURCH
If the purpose of Baptism is to publicly identify a believer in Jesus Christ, you might ask, “What was the significance of my Baptism as a baby?” In the New Testament, we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told His disciples to welcome them. But He did not baptize them, and He did not tell anyone else to baptize them. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation. If you were baptized as a child, it was the intent of your parents that you would be a follower of Christ. Your Baptism as an adult can be viewed as the fulfillment of your parents’ wishes. It in no way repudiates the Baptism you received as a child.
Am I ready to be Baptised?
Once someone professes faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, the Bible says they should proclaim the life change that has occurred as a witness of their decision to the world. Baptism has always stood as a public testimony for people who have become believers in Christ. Believers are those who have realised that their sins have separated them from God. They have given up all efforts to reach God through their own good works or religious activity. They have concluded that Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross for their sins is the only thing that can bridge the gap between them and God. A believer is someone who has decided to trust Christ alone for his or her salvation.
If you have come to this point in your spiritual journey, then you are ready to be baptised.
How do I get baptised at SURFSIDE CHURCH?
First, register your interest with the pastors of the church.
Second, grab a salvation and baptism study on the information table at church. Let the pastors know when you’ve completed the study and understand the decision you’ve made. Details will be provided for the next available opportunity for you to be Baptised among your church family.
Thirdly, get baptised! Baptism services and opportunities are provided regularly at the beautiful Rockpool in Norah Head on our stunning coastline with our pastors and leaders right beside you.