In the past year, our church has participated in 11 baptisms. Some have been children, while others have been adults or youth who have confessed their faith through baptism. Baptism is a wonderful occasion and, as discussed in the Bible, it is an occasion of confession and prayer. First, a person must confess their sins and confess they need Jesus. This shows repentance and obedience to the Lord. “Jesus is Lord” should be confessed by the person who is being baptized. This shows the pastor, the congregation, the person being baptized, and God who they are confessing their sins to and who they worship. Second, a person who is being baptized is also praying. Prayer especially during this time is a means of surrender to the Lord.
When people pray for salvation, they are praying for forgiveness and for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 and 16:31 show that the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins are given as soon as the person unselfishly repents of their sins. Beasley-Murray wrote many debates about the Holy Spirit and where it lies, and how its gifts are bestowed on others. The end resolution is while baptism and the Holy Spirit are in close relationship to one another, God has the freedom to bestow the Holy Spirit on whom he pleases. God is not bound to His sacraments. Since He is God of the universe. He has freedom to do His will.
Throughout the Bible, baptism is shown as participation in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Christians are now dead to their sin and can walk in newness of life. This is an exciting time for a Christian to die with Christ and, while doing so, die to their sins so that they can live a new and forgiven life. Romans chapter 6 speaks of this and of new life. In this passage, it is those who are converted who are in mind. Now the old Adam is gone and a new Adam can walk. When Jesus died on the cross, the old Adam’s sinful life was washed away. Jesus was perfect so he did not walk in new life, but the world has a chance to walk in new life. I hope you celebrate with those who participate in baptism at North Shelby Baptist Church and rejoice in the new life God has given them.