why water baptism

When we become Christians, we make a decision to follow Jesus for the rest of our lives. One of the steps He asks us to take early on in our journey is to be baptized in water. It is so important that Jesus Himself was baptized in the Jordan River before He stepped out into public ministry. We can learn five vital truths about baptism from the experience He modelled for us, as recorded in Matthew 3:13-4:1.

  1. It’s the right thing to do! “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?' But Jesus answered him, 'Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he consented.” (Matthew 3:13-15)

  2. The heavens opened up providing new perspective and greater insight into God’s Kingdom. “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him...” (Matthew 3:16a)

  3. The Spirit descended which means that the second step of baptism with the Spirit can often accompany or follow after water baptism “...and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;” (Matthew 3:16b)

  4. The Father was well pleased, which invariably happens when we do what He asks us to do. “...and behold, a voice from heaven said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'”(Matthew 3:17)

Immediately following baptism Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to face temptation. Often we will be challenged when we decide to follow Jesus, but with each step we take closer to Him the more aware we become of His authority in our lives and over our enemies. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1) 

what is water baptism?

Water baptism is an outward expression of what God has done and is doing inside us. When we go into the water we are saying, “The old me died with Jesus.” Under the water (for a brief second) we are saying, “My sins are washed away, buried with Jesus.” Coming out of the water we are saying, “I am a new person, born again into new life with Jesus” and “I want everyone to know that Jesus is alive in me and I’m alive in Him.”

Baptism is immersion in water, signifying identification with Jesus Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. It also signifies the cleansing and purification of sin, which Jesus accomplished for us on the Cross.

For further reading, see Romans 6:3-11; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12.

when do we get baptized?

Baptism is linked with salvation as an act of faith. It is not a prerequisite for salvation or baptism in the Holy Spirit (Luke 23:42- 43; Acts 10:47) but should be done as soon as desired after salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12; 36-38).

who can get baptized?

Baptism is for every believer without exception (Matthew 3:13-14; Acts 2:28) and any believer can baptize another (Matthew 28:19). At NorthRidge we believe the decision to be baptized belongs to that person, so we don’t baptize infants. Instead, we “dedicate” them and their parents to God in our public services upon the parents’ request (1 Samuel 1:24-28). When a child is old enough to make a decision to give their life to Christ and can understand the significance of water baptism, they can ask to be baptized.

how do we get baptized?

A believer is taken to any body of water and completely immersed. This is because the original greek word in Scripture, “baptizo” means “to immerse” and this is how they baptized in the Biblical examples. Also, the spiritual significance of the act correlates to complete immersion:

  • Going into the water - identification with Jesus’ death.

  • Being immersed - being cleansed of all sin.

  • Coming up out of the water - identification with Jesus’ resurrection; being brought into new life in Christ.