What is Water Baptism?
Water baptism is not a personal choice, but a command for believers. Jesus established water baptism as an ordinance when He gave the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16).
Water baptism is a public, outward testimony that indicates a personal, inward faith. It gives evidence of the inner change that has already occurred in the believer's life when he or she was "born again" through faith in Jesus Christ.
Baptism identifies the believer with the message of the gospel, the Person of Jesus Christ, and other believers. It associates the believer with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and signifies the believer's death to the old life and his or her resurrection as a new creation in Christ (see Romans 6:1–8; Colossians 2:12).
Why are we to be baptized?
We are to be baptized because Jesus Christ commanded it (Matthew 28:19), and because we love the Lord. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Throughout the Book of Acts, we read how the early church gave importance to water baptism (see Acts 2:41; 8:12, 38; 9:18; 10:47–48; 16:15, 33; 19:3–5)
Who should be baptized?
All born-again believers in Jesus Christ—and only believers—should be baptized (see Mark 16:15–16; Acts 8:12, 36–38; 16:31–33; 18:8).
Are infants and children to be baptized?
After Peter spoke at Pentecost, "Those who gladly received His Word were baptized" (Acts 2:41). In the New Testament, every instance in which a person was baptized and his or her identity was given, that person was an adult. In light of Scripture, infant baptism must be ruled out, because infants cannot receive the Word of God and understand it. However, infants are to be dedicated to the Lord (see 1 Samuel 1:26–28; also see Baby Dedications below). Children may be baptized as a believer, if they receive and understand God's Word.
In whose name are we to be baptized?
As part of the Great Commission, Jesus instructed the disciples to baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
Is water baptism necessary for salvation?
The Bible clearly teaches that we are saved by grace through faith and according to God's mercy (see Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5). The thief on the cross next to Jesus had no time to be baptized; yet Jesus promised that he would be with Him in Paradise that day (see Luke 23:43). The Bible contains no record of Jesus baptizing anyone—a strange omission if baptism was essential for salvation. The Apostle Paul declared, "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel…" (1 Corinthians 1:17). This clearly indicates that salvation is a response of faith to the gospel—not the act of baptism. Therefore, water baptism is not an act of salvation, but an act of obedience.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)
Children Are A Heritage
The Bible says that children are a heritage and a reward from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3). God has given Christian parents the tremendous responsibility of raising their children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). He entrusts parents with the responsibility of establishing a foundation built upon Jesus Christ early in the lives of their children.
Why Should Children Be Dedicated?
In view of this responsibility, baby dedications are actually family dedications. Dedication is a time when parents commit themselves to abiding by biblical principles and raising their children according to God's standards. Not only are you dedicating your child to God, but you are also dedicating yourselves as parents to Christ and the church.
Requirements For Dedication
Baby Dedication is open to parents who can truthfully say, "I will commit myself to raising this child to know the Lord Jesus Christ by loving, disciplining, training and setting a positive, Christ-like example." Parents who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will be unable to do this. As a result, we must decline any requests to involve an unbelieving parent in the dedication of a child.
Responsibilities Of A Christian Parent
Christian parents are to do all they can to “set apart” their child to God until that child can make his or her own choice regarding a relationship with Jesus Christ. By dedicating a child to the Lord, parents make a vow to raise their child in God’s ways rather than their own. They commit themselves to this promise and must do all they can to keep it. The responsibilities God has entrusted to Christian parents include continuously praying for their children (Job 1:5); instructing them in the way of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Proverbs 22:6; Psalm 78:4-8); setting a godly example (Proverbs 20:7) and disciplining them as the Lord disciplines us (Proverbs 29:15,17;13:24). These responsibilities can only be fulfilled in Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:13)
As a parent, your devotion to God, or lack of it, will make a resounding impression on the next generation. May your legacy be a godly one.