Baptism is a Picture
When someone gives their life to Christ, their baptism serves as a picture of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. The person being baptized goes under the water (symbolizing the burial of Jesus) surrendering to Christ and leaving their old life behind. The individual then comes up out of the water (symbolizing the resurrection of Jesus) beginning a new life as a Christian.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. -Romans 6:4
Baptism is a Connection Point
According to Acts 2:38, there are two things that are received when a person repents and is baptized. (1) The Forgiveness of Sins - All our sins are washed away, not because of the physical water, but because of the promise of God through Christ. (2) The Gift of the Holy Spirit - God 'takes up residence' and becomes a constant presence in our lives.
Peter replied, “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. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:38-39
Because Baptism is a Bible Command
Acts 2 records the first time in the Bible where people were instructed to be baptism in response to Jesus' death and resurrection. When the apostle Peter explained to a large crowd in Jerusalem the significance of Jesus life, death, and resurrection, the people asked, "What should we do?". Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter responded with the following command.
“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. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” -Acts 2:38-39
Because Baptism is a Bible Pattern
After Peter instructed the people in Acts 2 to "repent and be baptized," 3000 people responded to his message and were baptized that day. From that point on in the Bible, everyone who surrendered their life to Christ were baptized.
Some examples of baptisms in the book of Acts: Acts 8:34-40; Acts 16:13-15; Acts 16:29-34; Acts 18:7-8
If you decide to be baptized you will be following both a Bible command and a Bible pattern for how to respond to Christ.
The original language of the New Testament was Greek. When the Apostle Paul and others wrote about baptism, they always used a Greek word (verb – baptidzo) that meant to “dip, plunge or immerse.” There are other Greek words that mean “to sprinkle or pour.” If the writers had intended to introduce other modes of baptism they would have chosen the appropriate word. Instead they specified immersion.
A scriptural example comes from Acts 8:38, where Philip baptizes a man from Ethiopia. After the man expressed his faith in Christ, Philip and the man went down into the water, indicating the mode of baptism was by immersion. Immersion was also the commonly accepted form of baptism during the first four centuries of the church and sprinkling was not officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church until the 14th Century.
No. The Bible teaches that Christ saves us. Acts 4:12 states that salvation is found “in no other” than Jesus Christ. However, receiving Christ requires some response on our part. The Bible makes it clear that our response to Christ includes a process of faith, repentance, confession and baptism. Each step is important, but none more important than the other. These then are the ways that we trust Christ for salvation.
- Believe (Acts 16:31)
- Repent (Acts 2:38)
- Confess (Matt. 16:16-18, Romans 10:9-10)
- Be Baptized (Matt. 28:19-20, Acts 2:38-41, Acts 8:36-38)
Salvation in Christ is a process that has a beginning point, includes these steps, but is not fully completed until Christ returns at his second coming at the end of the time. There are many biblical reasons to be baptized including the washing or cleansing of sin (Acts 22:16), to publicly declare one’s faith in Christ (Colossians 2:12), to be obedient like Jesus (Matthew 3:15) and to do what the Bible commands (Acts 2:38, 10:48). At HCC, we rejoice with everyone who acts on this crucial biblical step in response to what God has revealed in His word.
We must ask another question in answering this one. Are people born with the mark or guilt of sin already in our lives? Or are people born as a “clean slate” and not seen as sinful in God’s eyes until they are old enough to personally choose to act in opposition with what they know God has commanded? At HCC, we believe that all mankind has a sinful nature or a tendency to sin. However, we believe that God does not hold us accountable for sin until we are old enough to understand that we are in rebellion against him; the one Almighty God. When a person reaches that age of accountability, we encourage them to accept Christ through faith, repentance, confession and baptism.
We recognize that many parents have had their infant children baptized or christened by sprinkling for reasons of making a public declaration of their intent to raise the child to know God. While this is admirable, we do not believe that a newborn baby is a sinner in need of salvation, but is covered by the grace of Christ until the age of accountability and is therefore not in need of baptism. Likewise, newborns cannot express faith and have nothing of which to repent, two items which the New Testament connects with baptism (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38). If you were sprinkled as a baby, in a different faith tradition, thank God for the foundation of faith that your parents laid for you. Now we ask you to build on that foundation with what you know is needed.
Baptism was an ordinance in the New Testament church (Matthew 28:18-20); therefore it is in ours as well. In the New Testament everyone who accepted Christ was baptized into Christ. Through their participation in baptism, they became members of the church. At HCC we believe in following the scriptural example as closely as possible. Thus, all those who have chosen to be members at HCC have been immersed into Christ, either here or at another church. We recognize that other churches do not have this position, but we make no judgment regarding their practices.