Hope Chapel

Baptism

An important part of Christianity

Christians today often fall prey to one of two errors regarding baptism. Some believe that only the “near perfect” Christian should be baptized, therefore they delay their baptism until a later time. The opposite error is to assign little value to baptism and to view it as optional or as a rite to check off a spiritual progress report. The solution is to examine what the Bible says about baptism.

Matthew 28 records Jesus’ Great Commission of his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” In obedience to Jesus, Peter concluded his sermon at Pentecost by exhorting them to “repent...and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:41).

In short, baptism is mentioned as the normal practice following belief without the thought of it being the cause of spiritual benefit. The late Christian Scholar F.F. Bruce wrote that "the thought of an unbaptized believer is not entertained in the New Testament." Baptism is first and foremost a matter of loving obedience to Jesus Christ.

When we practice baptism out of obedience to Christ, we testify to and identify with His death, burial and resurrection. In doing so, we are making a public proclamation about His atoning work and its efficacy in our life. It is an outward sign of inward change.

Finally, we practice baptism as an ordinance that is from faith, not for faith. Baptism depicts the saving work of God though Jesus that has already occurred in the life of the believer, it does not result in this saving work.