Dear Christian Sister,
Today is an anniversary that I observe every year with prayer and gratitude. Eight years ago today, I was baptized.
I waited a long time to be baptized. I grew up in a Christian home. Because of God’s grace and my parents faithfulness, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know the Lord, which has been an incredible blessing throughout my life, but I never took the step to be baptized.
Looking back, I don’t really know why. My parents would ask me occasionally, usually when my church was holding a periodic baptism service, but I always said no. (Let me stop to note that I think this was indicative of my sanctification not my salvation. I am confident that I was saved, but I think that I was immature in the faith and didn’t have a thorough understanding of what baptism was.)
Fast forward to my early twenties and my Theology II class in college. We spent some time learning about baptism: what it is, what the Bible says, and what it represents. I began to feel strong conviction that I had never taken that step. I met with one of my professors during open hours, who encouraged me to take that step and be baptized.
At the time, I was attending a church near campus. Before my mom gave me her car, I would often walk from my campus apartment to church on Sunday mornings. It was a bigger congregation than I was used to, but I loved the teaching and there was overlap with church leadership and my school’s faculty.
I started going to the baptism class after service, where we met with a pastor and discussed what baptism was and why Christians are baptized. We shared our testimonies with the group, read through key biblical passages and also reviewed the church’s conviction regarding believer’s baptism. We each had to ask one of the elders to baptize us, so I chose one of my theology professors.
March 4, 2012 was a celebration. My parents and grandparents made the hour and a half drive to attend the baptism & communion service on a Sunday night. My friends came equipped with a giant poster and an air horn. I was so nervous to be in front of the whole church, but I was very excited to follow Scripture’s command to be baptized. It is an event that I look back on fondly each March.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is not salvific, that is, baptism is not the means by which we are saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that it is by God’s grace through faith alone that we are saved. But it is a significant moment in the life of a Christian.
It is an outward display of an inward commitment to Christ and Scripture instructs us to be baptized. Jesus commands His followers to go into the world, make disciples, and baptize them (Matt 28:19-20).
Romans tells us that baptism represents newness of life and the death of your former self. Baptism is an expression of our unity with Christ in His death and resurrection. It makes a statement to the world that you are part of the family of God. Baptism is a symbol of the death & burial of the old self, and being resurrected to newness of life in Christ.
Should I Be Baptized?
If you have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and have responded in faith, devoting your life to serving & obeying Him, then yes! Get baptized! Baptism is a visible expression of faith in Christ, therefore it should only be practiced by believers.
I encourage you, sister, to talk with a pastor, an elder, a mentor in your local church. And be baptized!
Then, continue to walk in obedience to God’s Word. Obedience does not stop when you accept Christ. True faith is something that continues to grow throughout your life. God will continue to sanctify you and teach and mold you more and more into the likeness of His Son. Obedience & spiritual fruit will grow as you continue to submit your life to the one true God.
(This is just a brief overview of baptism. There is so much more to learn and understand about this event and there are so many differing stances on what baptism should look like. First, read the Bible! Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition are two great resources for further study, but I also encourage you to reach out to your church leadership to ask what your church believes about baptism.)