In last week’s blog, I shared the amazing vacation that Dave and I took with the Love Song Couples Getaway—our second vacation with this God-centered group. Read in two earlier blogs how we discovered this group and about our trips to Maui and the Bahamas. Both of these vacations overflowed with fun and friendships, but we also had great worship and Christian teaching that challenged us to strengthen our marriages and our walk with the Lord. On both trips, there was an invitation to accept Jesus as your Savior or rededicate your life, followed by beach baptisms.
On the beaches of Maui, 87 people, including a young boy passing by, were baptized in the ocean and 39 people were baptized in the Bahama’s ocean. What a celebration that was and an amazing memory for all those who experienced the joy of making a public statement of faith and for those of us who prayed for them and cheered them on.
Chad and Andrea Burnell (Idaho Falls} being baptized by Pastor Jim Wright in the Bahamas
More new friends: Holly and Bob Isenberger (WY) Jackie and Steve Riley (WA) and Dave and me celebrating with Chad and Andrea after their beach baptism
Why Be Baptized?
Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change of heart when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior. We believe that Jesus is who He said He was—the Son of God who died to bear our sins so that we might have eternal life. We receive salvation by admitting we have sinned, asking for the Lord’s forgiveness, and believing that Jesus Christ died for our sins and arose three days later to offer eternal life with Him to those who believe:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
Jesus said there was no other way. We cannot work our way into Heaven with good deeds and someone else cannot make the decision for us—not our parents, our spouses, our friends, or our church—it’s our personal decision. Only we can determine whether we believe in Jesus, and we need to be old enough to understand and acknowledge what it means to make Jesus Lord of our life.
Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist symbolized what Jesus was soon going to do for us on the cross—dying, being buried three days, and then rising again. Immersion water baptism of a person who has accepted Christ as their Savior, symbolizes dying with Christ to their old sinful life and rising up out of the water a new person in Christ.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” Matthew 3:16
The baptism itself does not save us or make us Christians, just as wearing a wedding ring doesn’t make us married. The wedding ring shows the world we’re united with and committed to another person, so baptism tells the world we’re united with and committed to Christ.
Baptism is an expression of faith. You must be able to hear, understand, and reason. A christening or infant baptism is a choice made by the parents; a profession of faith baptism can only be made by someone old enough to make decisions for themselves. Peter explained at Pentecost,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
There is a progression—we hear, believe, repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness, then publicly profess our faith through baptism, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
My Daughter and Granddaughter’s Baptism
In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I talk about praying and fasting that my daughter Kim would want to be baptized after she accepted Jesus as her Savior. My husband Dave and I had the blessing of baptizing Kim and her fiancé Toby two weeks before their wedding. I said at the time, “You give your child their first birth, but what a joy to be part of her being born again in Christ and wanting the world to know!”
The day after we returned home from our Love Song Couples Getaway this year, my 8 year-old granddaughter, Katelyn, was baptized. Katelyn accepted Christ as her Savior last year at our churches VBS, and this year she was ready to be baptized. She’s been attending AWANA’s for three years and Sunday School on Sundays. Her parents felt she was now old enough to understand her decision to follow Christ and they had the honor of baptizing their daughter. Following is the precious video of Katelyn’s baptism—
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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20