Mark McLean, Lassen Street Church of Christ, Vallejo, CA
Baptism into Christ is a lot like a wedding ceremony: It is a simple act of commitment that changes a relationship and unites us with Jesus Christ! Like a wedding ceremony, it should be done with the preparation of both “the head” and “the heart.”
“The Head” – What do I Need to Know?
Basic Christian Doctrine
The Bible records baptisms of people after hearing only one sermon! We do not have to have a full understanding of the Bible in order to be baptized. What are the basics of Christian doctrine that one should know before being baptized?
What Happens in Baptism?
Correcting Common Misunderstandings about Baptism:
“The Heart” – What do I need to Experience?
What Precedes Baptism?
How do I know that I’m ready for Baptism?
Baptism comes when we make the decision to “begin the journey of faith.” In that sense baptism is like a wedding ceremony: a commitment to begin a life together with one that we love. We have much to learn from the Lord after our initial commitment to Him (MT 28:20). Baptism is the beginning of a new life when we are “born again” (JN 3:3-7).
Christians still sin, but are continually forgiven of sin as they “walk in the light” (I JN 1:5-10). “Walking in the light” of the Lord is not a matter of perfection but of direction toward the Lord. It is evidenced by openness toward God and His will, including the admission of known sin. The blood of Jesus Christ continues to forgive us after baptism as we “walk in the light.”
Baptism should occur immediately once we are convicted of our need for Christ: “And now, what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). Once we are convicted of our sin and see our need of Jesus as Savior, baptism becomes an immediate need so that our sins may be forgiven and our peace with God restored.