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Five Common Questions about Baptism
1. What is Baptism?
Baptism is a celebration where you publicly affirm your decision to follow Christ. It shows others in the church that Jesus has changed your life. It's an outward expression of an inward change. It doesn't mean that you're perfect or that you won't sin again after you're baptized. It simply means that you've decided to make Jesus your Lord and Savior (i.e. the leader of your life and the only one who can save you from your sins).
In baptism, you are choosing to identify yourself with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. (Colossians 2:12, NLT)
We do this by standing in water (usually a spa or pool), immersing you all the way underwater, and then lifting you back out. This represents dying to sin and your old way of life and being raised up to new life and a fresh start (Romans 6:3-5).
2. Why Should I Get Baptized?
Jesus saw baptism as fundamental to following Him, instructing the church to baptize (Matthew 28:19) and even getting baptized himself (Mark 1:9-11). RiverLife encourages all Christians to be baptized out of obedience. Obeying what Jesus commands shows that we love Him (John 14:15) and believe in Him (1 John 2:3). Being baptized shows the world that we're turning away from sin and towards Jesus, the only one who can forgive us and transform us (Acts 2:38-41).
3. How Do I Know I'm Ready To Get Baptized?
If you've decided to follow Jesus, then you're ready to be baptized. It doesn't matter if you've been a Christian ten days or ten years, the time is now. You don't have to be a super-Christian or get your sin under control to be baptized. Baptism isn't a mark of perfection; it's simply identifies you as belonging to God and His family.
4. Does RiverLife Baptize Children?
Since we believe that baptism follows a person's decision to trust Jesus for their life and salvation, we wait until children are old enough to decide for themselves to follow Jesus and to understand the meaning of baptism. We don't have a minimum age; we ultimately leave that decision to parents as the primary spiritual caretakers of their children. For more information, here's a great article on "Talking To Kids about Baptism."
5. Do I Need To Get Baptized Again?
Generally, no. If you were baptized as a teenager or adult and it was a reflection of your desire to follow Jesus, then you don't need to get baptized again, even if you've been away from the church and God for a long time. But if you were baptized as an infant or and would like to get baptized now as an adult to reflect your own personal faith, then we want to help you take that next step. Also, if you were baptized before but it was part of family decision and it really wasn't your own, then we'll support you in getting baptized again.
Learn More about Baptism with These Sermon Videos
Baptism: Not Just for Super Christians
Have you hesitated getting baptized because you feel that you're not good enough or you're afraid that you can't sin after you get baptised? Then this series is for you! In it, Pastor Greg shares a clear, biblically sound view on baptism and the vital role is plays in the life and faith of every Christ-follower. (March 2015)
Baptism: Come To the Water
This series clarifies the four key aspects of baptism and presents two stories from the Book of Acts about people who made powerful decisions to believe in Christ and get baptized. Through these stories (and many others like them), Jesus is inviting every one of his followers to come to the water and be baptized. (August 2017)
Baptism: Buried with Christ, Risen with Christ (Sermon and Q&A)
What exactly is baptism and why is it so important in the Christian faith? Is it a mark of higher spiritual maturity, the forgiveness of sins, or just a symbolic ritual? Join Pastor Greg as he shares some of the mystery of baptism and how your faith could be missing something if you haven't been baptized. (March 2018)