It Is More Than Immersion: Baptism
Being a Christian requires a form of identification.
Author: Blessing Stephen
One of the sacraments instituted by Christ is Baptism and the other which is the Holy Communion. The sacrament of baptism has been part of Christianity from the beginning. John The Baptist who is known for baptizing, baptized numerous people including Jesus. After which Jesus gave His disciples "The Great Commission" to spread the Gospel to all the nations of the world baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19 (NIV).
Baptism is a sign of New Birth, those who get baptized—dedicated into the Church by immersion in water as a spiritual cleansing—are made members of Christ's body, the Church, and inheritors of God's Kingdom. It takes away the original sin in the person baptized, and the baptized is made a participant of the Divine Trinity. Baptism has been used to welcome new believers into the Christian faith as part of God's family.
In some Christian denominations, like Catholics, Prebysterians, Methodists, Anglicans etc, infant baptism is practised, where the infant's godparents guarantee that they (the infant) will be brought up to know Christ. Whereafter the baptized infant affirm their Christian faith when they get older through "Confirmation". While other denominations only practise believer's baptism, where only older people – adults – receive the sacrament rather than having someone stand in for them. However, whether a Christian is baptized as a child or adult they're all baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and all share in Christ's death and resurrection through one and Holy baptism. Before a person is baptized, they must confess their sins, renounce the Devil and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
This sacred practice has countless benefits in a believer's life and to the entire body of Christ. In baptism we receive all the promises of God: We are reconciled and given access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18), we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:10), become adopted children (Ephesians 1:5), we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20), are fellow citizens with the saints and the household of God (Ephesians 2:19), have been made heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:7) et cetera. When we are baptized, we're baptized into Christ's death. Our old man is crucified with Him. “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should take in newness of life" Romans 6:4 (KJV). “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” Romans 6:6 (KJV).
Another edge of baptism is the Holy Spirit. Some people get baptized by/with the Holy Ghost immediately after their water baptism, it is possible to receive the Holy Spirit baptism without water baptism. The Holy Ghost is a vantage to believers that stands as a sign/mark of God's ownership. A mark that indicates that the transaction that the Son paid for human sin at the cross is completed. Through the Holy Spirit we bear witness to Jesus.
Baptism is significant for the salvation of all whom the Gospel has been proclaimed to and have received it. For as Christians we are competent soldiers of Christ, and baptism gives us all the grace that enables us to be skillful armies for Christ. “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” Jesus says. Notwithstanding, those who sincerely seek God and strive to do His Will can also be saved and receive God's promises without being baptized with water but are baptized in their hearts through the death of Jesus Christ for the salvation of all who believe.
Any Christian who has led another to faith can virtually baptize someone as the Great Commission was initially given to Jesus' disciples but applies to every believer. It is obvious that anyone baptizing another person should be a Christian, understands the Word. Despite that not all churches would approve a female or younger believer to carry out this task, there's no age or gender requirements for those who can baptize others, as long as they are believers. Local churches have the responsibility of ensuring baptism is carried out in a way that honours God, therefore, they may bring in other requirements beyond what the Scripture says.
Both baptism with water and the Holy Spirit are baptism—cleansing—of one's heart, that is true baptism. Baptism is more than spiritual cleansing and immersion; we receive many benefits from it.
Blessing Stephen is a Christian and an avid writer from Nigeria. She is interested in educational equity and girls' rights. She is a prefrosh and plans on studying medicine.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views or positions of Converge Interfaith.