Baptism

Baptism

So you’re standing near a man waist deep in water. You’re nervous. All eyes are on you. Someone places a hand on you and pushes you down. The cold water moves up around you. Over you arms. Your shoulders. It moves over your face. For a moment the world disappears.
Silence.
There is an absence of sound.
Darkness.
There is an absence of light.
Cold.
There is a absence of warmth.
Your senses are gone. Everything you received from your senses is gone.  It is as if you have moved out of the world you knew. In that moment who are you. What are you. If the world you knew is gone, what are you then. What are you now.  Up. You move up. Sound rushes back, light rushes back, warmth rushes back. You are not what you were. You are still you, but not the same you. You are the same, but now different. You are a something new that didn’t exist before.

 

                            Baptism is how we show our commitment. It is like a second birth. We go down into the water and we leave the old man there. The person we were. We are made new creatures in Christ. We are not just committing our lives to God, but also to not living as who we were anymore. After becoming a Christian everything we were or did no longer matters to God. He wipes the slate clean. If there was any baggage you have been carrying, let it go. Be made new again. This is part of your identity in Christ Jesus.
So, Jesus was baptized and we model our lives after him. That is why  do it in most cases, but what does it really mean. There are actually two types of baptisms. The physical and the spiritual. We must have the spiritual, which happens automatically when we become Christians. The physical is the one most thought of. Where we go to the front of the church and  get dunked under the water. Both serve an important purpose.

                  Lets start with the physical. It is a symbol of our new life and the joining of ourselves with Jesus. When we are baptized we are joined with him in his death and also in his resurrection. The old us dies and is crucified with him and we are made a new creature in Christ Jesus. Born again. Emerging from the waters is symbolic of a new birth.

                                It is also considered a type of minor exorcism. The devil will flee before such statements of faith. Before dunked you are asked  to make a public confession of belief in the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the main purpose of the  physical baptism. As it is said, Confess him before man and He will confess you before the Father. The physical baptism is not required for salvation, but many who become Christians want to do it for the public statement before people for the above reason and because Jesus did it in his life and wish to follow in his steps. It is good to have such memories to fall back on when times get hard. We can place this moment as the moment we were born again and the start of our new life with God. When you are baptized in a church setting by a pastor you will usually receive a dated certificate and a bible. Being the Christian adventurer you are you may opt out of the church baptism for the outdoor lake baptism like in the bible. It is how Jesus was baptized and how Philip baptized the Eunuch in Acts 8. 38”And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.”

Anyone can perform a baptism, as it is from God not man. If the church setting is not for you and you don’t want to wait and wish to be baptized immediately as you are reading this. You can have anyone you wish to perform it. There are only a few requirements.

  1. You must be a believer. You must understand the basics of being a Christian. That all are sinners and that Christ Jesus was the son of God come in flesh and died for the remission of sin.
  2. That this baptism is not a requirement of salvation. It does not save you and only by Jesus is salvation found.
  3. The person officiating must also be a believer.
    If you are planning to be baptized there are a few things you can do to prepare. First search your continence. Then pack a change of clothes and a towel. Don’t forget underwear. It is a good idea to pick something easy and fast to change out of and into. Your first set of clothes are going to be wet. Wet clothes are heavy and hard to get off. When i was baptized by brother Jarrell Woodhull, in our little church i brought a plastic sack with a change of clothes in it. I thought i should look nice and dressed in a long sleeve button down shirt and even an undershirt. Bad idea. It was wet and heavy and got tangled up when i tried to take it off. My shirt clumped and got caught on my glasses. My pats legs rolled tight and i couldn’t get my foot out and my boxers rolled up. Go simple. T-shit and jeans or even shorts would be a good idea. It took me a while to change because i was self conscious and the changing room was just a little open room and the pastor stood just out the doorway that had no door and waited for me to change out of my wet clothes and i was embarrassed to get completely nude.
                              The Spiritual Baptism. This is performed by God at the moment we begin to believe. It is when the Holy Spirit come into us to live and teach and to guide us in our lives. He never leaves us. This happens when you are hearing the word or reading it, or maybe right now as you are reading my blog and making the decision to become a Christian. The Holy Spirit moves into you and makes his dwelling there. You accept that Jesus died for you and He begins working in you to root out all evil. He will slowly start to change you for the better. This happens suddenly and without bells or whistles some even wonder if it has happened. If you believe in Christ Jesus, then it did, don’t worry about it, but this is another reason why some desire the physical baptism as well. Some believe that the Holy Spirit is given at the point of physical baptism. In the story of Jesus’s baptism the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, but later on the apostles and many other later received the Holy Spirit without being baptized again and many without being baptized. So being physically baptized in water is NOT a requirement of receiving the Holy Spirit. If you want it you may receive it. If you are not certain right now ask. God doesn’t hold back any good thing that is asked for in faith. He will send it straight away to anyone who asks. While your at it ask for wisdom.
Some practice the Christening. The sprinkling of water. Usually over infants. A sort of dedicating them to Christ. They will still have to make the decision when they are older to be baptized. This is more for the parents and God parents. They make a public statement to raise the child in a Christian home and teach them Christian values. They also use this ceremony to name the child. This is not a baptism, but is sometimes called a baptism. My dad was baptized in this manner when he was in the hospital as an adult because he had a trake in his throat and couldn’t be submerged in water. It was close to the end of his life and he wanted to be baptized. The pastor at the hospital did it for him after talking to him a while to make sure he understood salvation. It is not liked by most Baptists such as us, but when the person is incapable of being properly baptized, there is no real harm in it. It is only an outward statement of faith after all.
Also in a like manner, in Catholicism there is the rite of confirmation which is the point at which a person is mature enough to understand the law of God and to be held accountable. Usually in their teenage years. Similar to the bar mitzvah in Jewdism. The idea is you are not an adult and will be held accountable for breaking the law. Before this your parents were responsible for you and in teaching you. In confirmation you take on a saint’s name. One that you identify with and you add their name to your own as a sort of second middle name. The idea is that you study their life and learn from their examples. I have done this because it is now a secret name between me and God. If i were to receive a messenger from God they will know this name. It is a way of testing them to know they are from God. Also if you believe in black magic (which is mentioned in the Bible) curses are more effective if the caster knows your full name. Thereby adding this extra name add to protection. Not that you need more than God for protection.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find a nice cold lake and take a few friends or your survival team and get baptized. In fact get your whole team baptized. This would make a good start for your journey together. Dedicate your lives and families to God. This will prepare you for the hard times to come. Good bonding experience too. If you have already been baptized (some say not to do it again,) but i say go ahead. No harm. Do it as a group. Some are more comfortable that way.
The usual formula for the ceremony is that the one who is performing the rite goes out first and states why they are there. Asks the person to be baptized to come out to him. He then asks him, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God and accept him as your lord and savior who died for the remission of sins.” The person being baptized will say “Yes” and he goes on to say “Then I baptize you in the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.” Bend at the knees a little and support your weight too. They will lower you into the water and then pull you back up. Hold your nose and close your eyes. After that is done everyone sometimes sings a hymn.
Here is a simple certificate you can print out and use if you like.
baptism