People who attend Jersey Life Church come from various denominational and non-denominational backgrounds with different points of view of baptism. This information should help you understand a biblical point of view whether you are new to the Christian faith or you are a Christian, but have not been baptized after accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Baptism: What and Who?
What baptism means?
Baptism is a powerful symbol of the salvation that has already taken place in your life! Baptism does not save you, only faith in Jesus Christ alone saves.
Baptism is an outward sign that a person has entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It symbolizes what takes place inwardly at the time of salvation:
- Acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
- Sharing in His death (our old sin nature died), burial (the old has gone) and resurrection (we became a new creation in Christ)
- Being symbolically washed clean
Because Jesus instructed us to be baptized, baptism is also an act of obedience. While it is not necessary for salvation, it demonstrates submission to God.
Who should be baptized?
All who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior should be baptized. Baptism was given expressly and exclusively to those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and trust in him alone for the forgiveness of sin and a right relationship with God. It is an outward, visible expression of one’s faith in Jesus Christ, completely trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness of sin.
When & Why You Should Be Baptized
When you should be baptized:
A person should be baptized as soon as possible after accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Acts 8:35-38 – “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”
Acts 2:41 — “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”
Why you should be baptized:
Christ commanded it.
Matthew 28:19-20— “Therefore 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
It follows Christ’s example.
Mark 1:9-10 — “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.”
It’s a public profession of your faith to others.
Acts 18:8 — “Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.”
A good way to understand baptism is to look at a wedding ring. A wedding ring is worn by people who have committed their life in marriage to their mate. The ring doesn’t make them married but shows a reality (their marriage) that has already taken place, and so it is with baptism. Baptism doesn’t save you. It shows your salvation in Jesus Christ has taken place. What can you expect when you are baptized? Much like Jesus’ own experience when he was baptized as an example for us, many people experience a deep sense of God silently saying, “This is my child with whom I am well pleased.” Also like Jesus, many people experience a greater level of intimacy with and empowerment from the Holy Spirit after being baptized. Come with faith and great expectation when you are baptized and see what God will do in your life!
How we baptize
The Greek word for baptism, “baptizo”, means cleansing or immersion, and this is the word used to describe Jesus’ own baptism by John the Baptist. Jesus was baptized by immersion, so it is our preferred method. However, we do not believe the New Testament legislates that as the only mode of baptism. The value of the sacrament of baptism is in the life and heart of the believer and in the grace of God, not in the amount of water used. So we affirm baptism that is done by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.
What about other methods of baptism?
We believe God honors the heart of a person seeking to personally follow Jesus through baptism. Jersey Life Church welcomes a person who has received other methods of baptism, such as sprinkling or pouring, if the person placed their faith in Christ before the baptism and knew they were making a public profession of their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Matthew 3:16 — “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.”
Colossians 2:12 — “For when you were baptized you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ.” (Only immersion pictures this reality.)
What about infant baptism?
While we certainly honor the love and blessing of parents, every child ultimately has to choose their faith on their own. The Bible teaches that a person has not been scripturally baptized if he was christened as an infant or child (or at any age) before choosing to embrace a personal relationship with Christ. Since the Bible pictures baptism occurring only after a person has made a conscious choice to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we encourage anyone who has been baptized as an infant to take part in the meaningful step of believer’s baptism. Once they have personally chosen to place their faith in Jesus Christ, baptism is an exciting first step of following Christ that they won’t want to miss!
What about being baptized again?
We recommend you be baptized if you have not been baptized since receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You don’t need to be baptized again if you have been baptized after accepting Jesus Christ, but have struggled or strayed from God and are now renewing your commitment. If you are seeking to rededicate your life to God, the best action is to get connected in a Bible Study or Life Group and focus on growing your relationship with Him in community with other believers.
Baptism and Essential Beliefs about the Person of Jesus:
Before a person should be baptized, the Bible teaches that the following beliefs are essential to those who want to follow Jesus Christ:
1. Jesus is God.
John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
2. Jesus became a man.
John 1:14 – “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Philippians 2:7 – “but (he) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
3. Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
Acts 4:12 – “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Essential Beliefs about the Work of Jesus:
1. Jesus lived a perfectly obedient life.
Hebrews 4:15 – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
2. Jesus died as a substitute for me.
I Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”
3. Jesus rose from the grave.
Romans 10:9 – “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
I Corinthians 15:17- “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Common questions & answers
1. Can a person go to heaven without being baptized? YES!
- The blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin, not the waters of baptism. (Hebrews 9:22; I John 1:7)
- The thief on the cross was never baptized, yet he went to heaven. (Luke 23:39-43)
- At Cornelius’ house they were converted and filled with the Spirit of God before they were baptized. (Acts 10:44-48)
- The Philippian jailer was told, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) His baptism was a result of his salvation not a means to it.
- In Romans 10, one of the most important biblical chapters and books about salvation, no mention is made of baptism as being necessary to salvation. (vs. 9-13)
- Zacchaeus was declared “saved” by Jesus before baptism. (Luke 19:1-10)
2. Then why be baptized?
- The Bible commands it. (Acts 2:38; Matthew 28:19)
- Jesus, our chief example, was baptized as a model for us. (I Peters 2:21; Matthew 3:13-17)
- The early church taught and practiced baptism. Ten baptism services in the book of Acts. (2:41; 8:12; 8:38)
- Our Baptism pleases God. (Matthew 3:17) Because of what baptism says: it proclaims the Gospel; it pictures our experience; it declares our hope.
3. Who should be baptized?
- All People who have invited Jesus into their heart and who choose to follow him as Lord.
- Baptizing infants is not scriptural; dedication of infants is scriptural.
- Children should only be baptized when they fully understand what it represents.