Turn and Be Baptized

[This article is part of the series, Turntables]

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What kind of a series on repentance would this be without mentioning baptism? Personally, I’m Southern Baptist and affirm the BFM 2000. At our church, we talk about baptism all the time. In fact, we celebrated almost 100 baptisms within the CrossPoint network during 2017; 5 of them took place at the Lindsborg campus, where I pastor.

We practice believer’s baptism by immersion. Meaning, it’s our understanding that baptism is a symbol of the inward, spiritual reality of regeneration. After a person comes to faith in Christ, we consider baptism a great step of obedience (sometimes referred to as the first step of obedience). Believer’s baptism is found throughout the New Testament.

Here, I want to approach baptism from the angle the Turntables series has taken thus far—which is repentance. One account in the Bible where baptism and repentance are tied together is Mark 4:1-8.

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. [5]And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. [6]Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. [7]And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. [8]I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (ESV)

There is debate today around baptism, its purpose, who should/should not be baptized, or who is able to baptize others. I would submit that all are welcome to be baptized upon faith in Christ, and whoever you would like to baptize you may do so, generally speaking.

Some believe that baptism is for infants. They believe it’s something you do as a baby. If you didn’t get baptized when you were young, well, then you simply missed out on it. Oh well…

Baptism isn’t just for babies. Jesus was baptized when he was 30 years old. Every believer should be baptized, no matter what age you are. If you have faith then you should do it. It reveals your faith. Baptism may be considered as a good work. It’s a privilege to be baptized and follow the Lord’s example of baptism. It’s not just for babies; it’s for all believers.

I was baptized as a baby. My parents felt led to do so in order to proclaim to the church, friends, and family that they were going to raise me in a godly household. I was baptized again as a born-again believer on October 30, 2011.

Though I have been baptized as an infant, there is no Scriptural evidence to do so. I’m not really against it; I’m just not for it because it’s not anywhere in the Bible. When looking at biblical baptism, it involves someone who just placed their faith in Jesus Christ. Instead of practicing infant baptisms at our church, we organize Child Dedications (click to see photos). During these, we recognize the parents who are dedicating themselves to raising their children in a godly way. We also commission the whole church to support the parents in doing so. It’s a beautiful thing! Infant baptism, however, is not affirmed as biblical.

Your salvation isn’t dependent upon baptism. I love the account of the thief on the cross, next to Jesus, during his crucifixion. Many spiritual truths can be learned from the account. Long story short, you can literally be nailed to a cross and receive forgiveness through faith in Christ, with promise to see Jesus in Paradise. Baptism is not required of you for salvation, though it is a step of obedience believers are to take.

Looking at Mark 4:1-8, you can see the phrase a baptism of repentance.” Theologically, I affirm the view that repentance precedes baptism. I would also say that faith precedes baptism. It is an expression of your repentance in turning from sin to Christ as a born-again believer. As stated previously, lots of debate exists around baptism. I won’t be able to resolve the disagreements in one simple article. Upon my own study of Scripture, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support believer’s baptism.

Some might argue against this, using 1 Peter 3:21, which states, “Baptism, which corresponds to this (Noah and the flood), now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Here, baptism mentions that is saves, but not in the sense of regeneration, nor justification. It’s likened to an appeal to God, whereas it’s typically referred to as a symbol or proclamation.

Despite all debates, baptism is important for every Christian to experience. If you’re a believer and have not been baptized, I would ask you to consider doing so. It is a beautiful picture for your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors to witness. Watching a person get baptized is like seeing their new spiritual birth take place. During a baptism, the message of salvation is being proclaimed. Those at the event can see a representation of what Christ has done for us spiritually. Why wouldn’t you experience this gift of grace, this great opportunity?

Have you been baptized before? Has God been leading you to get baptized? Have you ever baptized someone else? Do you have questions about baptism? I would love to connect with you to discuss these. Feel free to join the discussion or reach out to me.

What a beautiful picture of Christ’s work for us. Baptism and repentance go hand in hand. They work together beautifully to represent the gracious work of God in our lives. We should each follow the Lord’s example and participate in baptism for God’s glory. It’s a step of obedience for those who are repentant. I hope you’re finding encouragement with the Turntables series. Stay with us in the discussion and interact with your feedback, questions, and thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “Turn and Be Baptized

  1. What a great exposition on baptism! Thanks for writing that, because it’s something one can point to if there are any questions. When my wife was baptised a few months before we were married (long and wonderful story), just about the whole congregation came down to Spanish Banks in Vancouver to be part of it. Those banks reach out so far, you have to wade out about half a mile before the water is up to your waist. (Our pastor joked, “I might have to roll her over a few times to make sure she’s wet enough!”) I digress … one of the challenges my wife faced, though, was the concept of “renouncing one’s past” in the process of being baptized. She’d had a wonderful first husband, who died of cancer at age 50 (which led to her turning away from God), and three brilliant daughters: she didn’t cotton to the idea of “renouncing” that. Our Pastor and I both explained that (as we see it) she was renouncing old ways of thinking and living and former priorities; but I’d be interested in reading your take on it.

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing! That’s a great testimony. The way I see re-baptism, isn’t necessarily always renouncing the past. As explained in the post, it is tied to repentance and turning from the old former life to a new life in Christ, symbolically presented through baptism. Sometimes it may be to affirm how you were raised. As I shared, I was baptized as an infant, and was baptized again in 2011 to both, proclaim by new spiritual birth with Christ as a born-again believer, and affirm the way my parents raised me. Does that make sense? It is certainly accurate to say that baptism is a way to renounce your old life and announce your new life in Christ!

  2. Pastor Payte, I’m planning to add a page or two to my website with a Q & A feature, links to resources, and articles about popular theological questions. Your great post above pushed me to start writing on the subject of baptism and also counts toward #My500Words 31 day challenge from Jeff Goins. So, thank you.

    I was baptized on August 8th 1987, three weeks after becoming born again and just shy of my 21st birthday. Just for the record, I still feel like I’m 21.

    Scripture clearly states repent and be baptized—in that order. Infants can’t repent.

    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

    Baptism is obedience to God’s order and a public declaration of our repentance and decision to identify ourselves as Christ’s own and our intent to follow Him. It symbolizes dying to our sin, our old way of life is buried and being resurrected to new life in Jesus. Once a follower of the world and of sin—now a follower of Jesus.

    Of course, it’s by His grace and strength and our ongoing daily repentance that we are able to to walk in His Way and fulfil His call for our lives. Praise God, His mercies are new every morning.

    I have observed some things from serving God and watching people for 30 years. God blesses obedience; willful disobedience hinders our walk with God. I’ve noticed that converts who are able to, and understand the gospel’s command to be baptized, but refuse to be, don’t fare well. I’ve watched their growth slow, some cease to grow, even derail their destiny and and leave the church. I’ve also seen the tremendous acceleration of joy, power in the Holy Ghost, and the boldness and depth of relationship with Jesus and maturity in those who obey God’s command to get baptized. I’m not referring to mere church attenders or church kids riding on the coat-tails of their parents who are not yet born again. Baptism not preceded by repentance is meaningless and powerless according to Biblical standards.

    Until the day of my baptism, I had managed to weasel my way out of ever speaking at a public assembly, even though it was a requirement at the school I attended. At my baptism I testified and declared my intent to follow Jesus. I renounced my former sinful lifestyle and also my former religion—one that taught me all about Jesus, but never introduced me to Him.

    “….and I’m going to be alright!” I said, in spite of my life being in shambles.

    Actually, I’m blessed. Blessed to know Jesus and walk with Him.

    God bless you, your family and ministry.