I just wanted to explain what we at Calvary Chapel Tokorozawa believe about water baptism. Unfortunately, as is the case many times, something that is described and explained so simply in the Bible gets complicated by man and his traditions.
As a believer of Jesus Christ, baptism is one of the privileges you have been given in the Bible to associate yourself more with your Savior. It is a joyous occasion that you can look back to and be encouraged.
When Jesus gave His Great Commission to the disciples, it included baptism.
Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Actually, this is a good formula for us, if you will, of baptism given to us by Jesus Himself.
We see the first requirement. …make disciples… Baptism is for a disciple, a believer and follower of Jesus.
It is one thing to say with your mouth that you believe, after all even the demons “believe” in God (James 2:19). But do you really believe? Do we believe that Christ is God incarnate, who lived a sinless life only to die a horrible death so that your sins can be forgiven? Have you truly repented of that sin (made a U-turn from sin and back toward God)? And in receiving Him are you willing to follow Christ, to have your life associated with Him? This is what it means to be a disciple. Now I know that you can’t live a sinless life - no one is perfect- but have you repented and made that choice to seek God’s plan for your life?
If you have, then water baptism is for you.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard of infant baptism or even possibly baptism for the dead. Unfortunately, those are not Biblically based. If a person is not baptized by his own will, making that decision for himself… if there is no willful repentance or discipleship, baptism has no validity. It is meaningless.
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT.
When a person gets baptized, it is done so in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Back to Matt 28:19). The Trinity- co-equal, co-eternal, and co-existent. It is important to know that God and His nature. We may not understand it fully, but we receive it in faith. It is essential that we acknowledge the Trinity, the very nature and personality of God. God the Fatherwho gave His only Son as a ransom of many. God the Son who gave His life so that we may have eternal life. God the Holy Spirit who guides us and cleanses us from sin and all unrighteousness. The Trinity.
DO I NEED TO GET BAPTIZED TO BE SAVED?
Absolutely not. In the early church, many of the problems that arose were related to something called “works righteousness.” What do I have to do to be more righteous? Somehow Christ is not enough. So I believe in Jesus and do something else. Worship on a certain day. Perform certain rituals. Get circumcised. The list goes on and on. It was clearly a false teaching. Jesus is sufficient for salvation.
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Salvation is a free gift. You can’t earn it. You definitely don’t deserve it. It is simply a free gift.
Unfortunately, works-based righteousness has found its way into the church today.
Some people teach baptismal regeneration which means that in order to be truly saved, you must be baptized. They take scripture, specifically Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; and drive home their beliefs. The problem is that they choose to take certain scriptures and choose to ignore others, denying the full counsel of God. If what they teach is true, then belief in Jesus is not enough and salvation is no longer a free gift but something earned through obedience in baptism. In Mark 16:16, Jesus is not teaching the steps to salvation, but rather making a statement of all believers. Believing in Christ we are saved. And by being baptized, we identify ourselves with Him.
Baptism allows a believer to identify himself to Christ as well as make a statement to the world that he is now loyal to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Think of the inexcusable negligence of the Apostle Paul if baptism was truly necessary for salvation. In I Corinthians 1:17 he says, For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. Would not Jesus Himself be guilty of preaching a half-gospel by not mentioning baptism when He said to Mary and Martha, I am the Resurrection and the Life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. (John 11:25-6). Think of the thief on the cross. There was no time for him to be baptized after he believed in Jesus, but in His final dying moment Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43).
SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I GET BAPTIZED?
Let’s look back in Matthew 28. That word for baptism in the Greek is baptizo. It literally means “to dip, or to immerse.” When you are baptized, your body is immersed in water to signify your relationship with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Rom 6:3-4 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
To be baptized is to experience the symbolic rite of death, burial, and resurrection.
Death- as you have chosen to give your life over to God.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Rom 6:6 …knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Burial- as your body is laid beneath the surface of the water.
And Resurrection- you have a newness of life in Christ.
Water baptism is an outward expression of something that happens in you as you have submitted yourself to God. By receiving baptism you are physically displaying the work of Christ in your life. As Christ was buried in His flesh, we bury, through baptism, our old nature. And as Christ was raised from the dead in a glorious resurrected body – never to die again, having conquered sin and death – we come forth out of the water having buried the old self and now coming up in newness of life, and life in the Spirit.
We are told in I Peter 3:21 that baptism is not the process of removing the filth from the flesh (in other words, the work of baptism does not make a sinner clean – if he goes down a dry sinner, he’ll come up a wet one), but rather it is an appeal to God for a clear conscience by the identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. That is why we say baptism is an outward expression of an inward work. Since you are already saved through belief in Jesus Christ, now in obedience you submit to baptism and in doing so you identify with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection – which made your salvation to eternal life possible.
If we can help you further or answer any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call. May the Lord bless you at your baptism and make it a very special event.
God bless you, Pastor Travis