I watched as the children's minister escorted a little girl, 9 years old, into the baptism pool at the front of the church. Her family was watching from the front row. Her younger sister and a friend were beside the pool. This was a very important day in this little girl's life. She was making a statement to all those in attendance. She had decided that Jesus Christ would be Lord of her life and she would live that life as He would have it from this moment forward.
The minister gently lowered her down into the water and out again while saying "I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." There was a smile on her face, applause from the congregation and a tear in her grandmother's eye. She had made her statement of faith.
Like her, many fortunate young people make that decision early in life. Many others, like me, don't come to this important commitment until much later, as adults of 40 or 50 or even older. At any age, the decision is the turning point of that person's life and we are told that there is rejoicing in heaven.
Would these people be "lost" if, for whatever reason, they didn't get baptized? No. It is the decision that makes the inner change not the act.
When dirty hands are washed, the results are immediate. Anyone can see that they are clean.
When a person repents, the cleansing is in the believer's heart with results that are not seen right away. The baptism is the outward sign.
Baptism is not the means by which salvation is brought about, but a sign and seal of the Covenant. The Covenant is God's pledge to save humankind. Because of what He has done and what He has promised, God forgives and renews lives.
The Church uses water baptism as an outward sign of the change that has taken place in the believer's heart.
Baptism involves the application of water to the body of a person. It is frequently thought of as an act by which the believer enters the fellowship of a local congregation or the universal church.
Baptism by immersion symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. - (immersed or buried in water and being brought up or resurrected)
Some churches pour water over the new believer symbolizing the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Some churches sprinkle water symbolizing the cleansing work of Christ in our hearts and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus.
However the baptism is performed, it is an exciting and joyful time for believers as we welcome a new soul into the family of Christ.
What do some Christians mean when they say they are "born again"?
Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about this in the Bible in the book of John 3.
The Greek word anothen translated again.
1. From the beginning, completely.
2. For the second time.
3. From above or from God.
It is to have such a complete change that it is similar to new birth.
It is to be created all over again.
It is not from our own achievement but from God's power alone.