Water baptism is a Christian tradition that dates all the way back to the time of Christ and the early Christian church. But what is it all about? Here are five things you should know:
Fact #1: Water baptism is God’s idea.
Baptism might seem strange to people new to the faith, but it was God’s idea in the first plact. Jesus sent out his first disciples and commanded them invite people to follow him. Anyone that accepted the invitation was to be baptized.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Fact #2: Water baptism doesn’t save anyone.
Though baptism is clearly commanded in the Bible, it’s also clear that it is not a ritual that saves a person. We start a relationship with God by trusting Jesus, and no good work on our part can add to the completed work of Jesus through his cross and resurrection. We are saved entirely by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Fact #3: Baptism is an act of practical obedience.
Water baptism, then, is one of the first things we can do practically in our lives to show our desire to live to honor God. It’s a simple sign that we’re coming to God on his terms, not ours. Today he wants us to be immersed in water; tomorrow there will be more to obey.
Fact #4: Baptism identifies us with Christ and his church
Romans 6:3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?
Fact #5: Baptism is a symbol of our new life
Water baptism is symbolic of the Christian life. It symbolizes death to our old way of living and resurrection to a new way of living.
Romans 6:4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
The bottom line: baptism is important. If you’ve put your faith in Christ, you should take this important step of water baptism.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- If you have been baptized, what was the experience like for you? If you are planning to get baptized, what is your motivation?
- Baptism is a simple matter of obedience. Make a list of some of the other things Christ calls us to do as Christians. Which ones are especially difficult for you? Where does baptism rank, and why?
- Read Romans 6:3-4. How are we identifying with Christ when we get baptized?
- Baptism is symbolic, much like a wedding ring. Explain.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.