A Word Concerning Infant Baptism
If the purpose of baptism is to publicly identify a believer in Jesus Christ, some may well ask the question: “What about the significance of my baptism as a baby?” In the Bible we find parents bringing their children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told us to welcome them. But he did not baptize them, and he didn’t tell anyone else to baptize them. Baptism is for those who have made a personal decision to trust Christ alone for their salvation.
Readiness for Baptism
Baptism is for believers. A believer is someone who has realized that their sin separated them from God. They have given up all efforts to reach God through good works or religious activity. They have concluded that Jesus’ death on the cross for their sins is the only thing that can bridge the gap between them and God. A believer is someone who has decided to trust Christ alone for his or her salvation.
If you have come to this point in your spiritual journey, then you are ready to be baptized. Just as a bride and groom tell of their love for each other through the symbol of rings, you should want to show the world through baptism of your union with Christ. Let the invisible miracle that’s happened in you show through the baptism he ordained for you.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Summary Statement on Baptism
The congregation of Alta Vista Baptist Church understands the Scriptures to teach that only professing believers qualify for baptism. These Scriptural teachings may be summarized as follows:
- Baptism is an act of obedience to the command of Christ, fulfilled by individuals who have subjected themselves to His sovereignty.
- Baptism symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through divine forgiveness and newness of life experienced by believers of their identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
- Baptism provides an opportunity for believers to make a formal profession of faith before the church.
- As a demonstration of obedience to the Lordship of Christ, baptism of believers is considered a prerequisite for joining the membership of the church.
Although the old covenant practice of infant circumcision is sometimes adduced as a rationale for infant baptism, the definition of the functions of circumcision and of baptism shows that those two institutions fulfilled different purposes in their respective covenants. The equation is never made in the Bible between the circumcision of male infants in the old covenant and the baptism of born-again believers, much less infants, in the new covenant. However, Alta Vista encourages Christian parents to present their children for the ceremony of Dedication.
“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).
If you want to learn more about baptism, or you want to be baptised, please contact us.