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Baptism is an ordinance. That means that it was commanded by Jesus as a practice for us to continue until he returns.
That means that it conveys the truth of the grace imparted to us through Jesus. The other sacrament recognized by the church is, Holy Communion. Through the water of baptism, and the bread and wine of communion we connect to the amazing truth that by grace we have received new life through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The symbolism of Baptism:
There are several powerful symbols present in the waters of baptism. Most significant is the symbolic nature of death and resurrection. Like Christ we are buried (symbolized by the submersion under the water), and like Christ we are raised to new life (symbolized by our resurfacing above the water). Baptism also symbolizes the passage from one life to the another (see biblical references below). It is an outward sign of an inward truth.
Baptism is a part of Salvation:
What baptism is NOT:
We are saved by God’s grace alone, doing good works can’t save you, but you are saved to do good works.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
No, if you are a confessing believer in Jesus, then you already have received his spirit. In fact, you would not have been able to choose Christ, and follow him, without the spirit. In his letter to the Ephesian Church, Paul encouraged them to ‘be filled’ with the spirit. That was not a directive to be baptized in the spirit. Rather, it is a call for us to yield control of our lives to the moving of the spirit who lives in us already. Pentecostal theology states that there are two baptisms, one baptism in water, and one baptism in the Holy Spirit. There are several instances in scripture where the spirit moves in such a way that people were gifted with supernatural gifts, speaking in tongues, healing, etc. This is a powerful witness to the way the spirit can move in our lives, but it does not necessitate a second baptism. The spirit is already in you – listen and obey.
“YOU”, if you are not yet baptized, and
As soon as you can if you have made the decision to believe in Jesus Christ. Note the evidence in the New Testament (e.g. Acts 2:41; 8:35-39; 16:31-33). We typically hold baptisms on Easter Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, and the Sunday before Easter. We do not baptized people during the season of Lent (40 days before Easter).