What is baptism? What does New Life Christian Community believe about baptism? There is scarcely a more misunderstood concept in Christianity. We as followers of Jesus Christ must seek to understand what and why we believe what we do.
Baptism has been around since before Jesus came.
Baptism was a fairly common practice done during the Old Testament times and especially during the inter-testamental times (the time between the writing of the Old and the New Testaments).
The purpose of Baptism has always been (with the exception of the infant baptism that the church did in err) to give people the opportunity to declare, to as many people as possible, a certain conviction and belief.
Before Christ came the general reason people were baptized was to declare that they would like to become Jewish. This was a bold and vulnerable step. Not only were you putting your life into the hands of a Rabbi – who could kill you (in the midst of baptism), but you were also putting your family at risk by being associated with “those Jews!”
Later, when John the Baptist began to baptize people, his baptism declaration was very different than other “Jewish” baptisms. He told, not only the gentiles, but also the Jews that they needed to be baptized into “repentance” (see Mark 1:4, Acts 13:24, etc.). This was particularly offensive and jarring for the Jews. Now, not only was it dangerous for Gentiles to be baptized – it was even more risky to be baptized as a Jew – because you were essentially telling the Jewish leaders that their system wasn’t good enough! That was a bold statement for anyone.
Jesus chose to be baptized into John’s baptism (a baptism of repentance). It was during Jesus’ baptism that God himself gave His testimony to the world about who Jesus was (which is the essential picture of what it is for us – a verbal and pictorial declaration of faith). It was Jesus’ public declaration to the world. God declared “this is my son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Today we are not baptized into John’s baptism. We are called to be baptized into Christ and His death (Romans 6:4)! Just as Christ was crucified, descended into the ground and rose again – so we too, in baptism, display that change. It is our opportunity to tell the world what Christ has done in our lives.
We must be careful that we as a church don’t make baptism about the act…we must keep the heart of the purpose of baptism at the forefront. Matthew 10:32-33 is a very pertinent passage to what baptism is all about. We must be willing to “confess Jesus as Lord of our lives” before men. That is the heart of the gospel, “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” (Romans 10:9).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]