When you receive salvation through Jesus Christ and make Him Lord of your life, this is the most important decision you could ever make, and is certainly one of the most exciting! You're a new person, a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)! It's enough to make you want to shout it to the world! One of the ways you can publicly demonstrate your new identity in Christ is by being baptized.
What is Baptism?
The physical act of baptism is an easy one. You start by standing or sitting in water, whether it is a special baptism tank, a pool or a body of water. Another Christian gently and completely submerges you under the water and then helps brings you back up out of the water. This process is called "immersion," and is Scripture's prescribed method of baptism.
Did you know that “baptize” is a transliteration of the original Greek word baptizw (baptizo). Baptizo is rooted in the word baptw (bapto), used in the first century for immersing a garment first into bleach and then into dye, both cleansing and changing the color of the cloth. Likewise, when we are baptized into Christ, we are cleansed from our sins and are made new in Him!
Who can be baptized?
Anyone who calls on the name of Jesus Christ to be saved is eligible. At Wellspring Church, we welcome anyone to be baptized who has made Jesus Christ Lord of their lives. If someone can share their testimony of salvation and so desires to be baptized, we will baptize them! No one should feel forced to be baptized. Much like their own decision to follow Christ, the desire to be baptized is their choice. However, we do believe that being baptized demonstrates obedience to Christ, when He said, "If you love me, keep my commands" in John 14:15.
There is no minimum (or maximum) age to be baptized, as long as you are able to articulate your testimony and your own coming to faith in Jesus Christ. We believe that baptism is a conscious decision, which is why we don't practice infant baptism at Wellspring Church. This goes for your child. Please offer and encourage them to take that step to be baptized if they decide they are ready to do so.
You also don't need to be brand new to faith in Jesus Christ to be baptized. You may have accepted Christ as Savior as a child or many years ago, but never took the step of publicly demonstrating your identity in Him. You are welcome to come and be baptized! It's not too late.
When can I be baptized?
Salvation and baptism are demonstrated throughout the book of Acts to go hand-in-hand. After people believe, they almost immediately get baptized. If you have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the time is right!
Why should I be baptized?
We find a number of reasons in the Bible to be baptized.
In Acts 2:38, Peter says, “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." Baptism is tied closely to the act of repentance, which results in forgiveness of sin and receiving the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 6:1-10, Paul demonstrates that baptism mirrors the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As you are immersed, it pictures your old sin nature and desires dying and being buried. As you emerge from the water, it pictures being raised with Christ as your Master, to walk in newness of life with Him, no longer a slave to sin and death!
Jesus was baptized, and he also asked His disciples to be baptized. Just before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he commissioned His disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything" He commanded them.
The bottom line is that being baptized identifies you publicly and visibly as a follower of Jesus Christ, that He is Lord of your life and you are no longer mastered by sin. It is a witness to friends, family and others that Christ has washed your sins away.
Before you are Baptized
There are a couple things to understand about baptism.
Being baptized does not save you. Only confessing to God that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and making Christ the Lord of your life will result in salvation (Romans 10:9-11). It is Jesus Christ alone by His grace that cleanses us from all unrighteousness that saves us, not the act of baptism. Baptism is symbolic of the death of our old ways and our resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ.
Not being baptized does not revoke salvation. The thief crucified next to Jesus who confessed his faith and trust in the Savior was promised to be in paradise. He was never baptized. There are any number of circumstances which could prevent people from going through with the physical act of baptism. But under any other circumstances, the thief's next act would have been to go get baptized, given the change of heart that Christ recognized in him. Not being baptized did not void Christ's promise or keep the thief out of Heaven. However, there is no reason to intentionally put off baptism out of fear, nerves or disobedience. Let today be the day you decide to be baptized!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." —John 3:16
I'm ready to be Baptized!
The first step is that you need to want to be baptized. This is the Holy Spirit moving in your heart nudging you to take that step. There is no reason to fear this prompting. He is giving you an opportunity to demonstrate your faith, be obedient to God and be an encouragement to the Body of Christ, who will be excited for you!
Next, contact the church! Periodically, Wellspring Church will include baptism ceremonies as part of special services. These services are announced weeks in advance, with an invitation to contact the office. You can email email@example.com or call 616.662.8955. You do not need to wait for these announcements. If you sense a desire to be baptized, special arrangements can be made.
Third, simply prepare to be baptized. You can share a brief testimony that demonstrates your testimony of coming to faith in Jesus Christ and why you want to be baptized. You will receive information from the church on what to bring, where to be and when to be there. The church will provide towels and a baptismal robe.
When you are dressed and ready for baptism you will enter the baptism water. The pastor will ask you a simple question something like this: “Have you trusted Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?” You will simple nod or reply “yes.” Pastor Steve will lower you under the water and immediately bring you back up. You are baptized!
If you have any questions, please call the Wellspring Church at 616.662.8955.