In keeping with the theme, “A Christ-Centered, Bible Teaching Church,” we at Calvary Chapel of South Lake Tahoe want to briefly explain what the Bible says about baptism. The best source of information on any subject of doctrine is the Bible, so let’s begin our study with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 16, Verse 15: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; But he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” It seems clear that those who believe will be baptized as a normal part of their experience with Jesus Christ.
While some make an issue of baptism, in the book of Acts it is clearly shown as being a part of the Christian experience. In fact, in every conversion in the book of Acts, the person was baptized! (See Acts 2:36-41; 10:42-48, 16:14-15; 16:30-33; 18:8)
The mode or method of baptism in the New Testament is full-body immersion. The Greek word “baptize” means to dip in this manner. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 6, Verses 3-4, Paul said, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life.”
The immersion, or “burial,” is symbolic or our old lives being buried, and our new lives being raised up with Jesus Christ. In other words, an outward sign of an inward change.
We need to realize that baptism in itself does not save.
A decision to follow Christ must come first. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, To them He gave the right to become children of God, To those who believe in His name.” From this Scripture we take the term “receive Christ” or “accept Christ”. This is essential to knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” In conclusion, if you have received Christ, you need to obey Him in baptism, you should want to identify with your Lord in this way, baptism is not presented as an “option” in Scripture, but as a normal part of the Christian life.
If you have never taken this step, or if you did it at a time that you were not sure of your relationship with Jesus Christ (whether you really did receive Him), why not do it as soon as possible?