Immersion in the baptismal waters symbolizes the end of the old way of life. Coming up out of the baptismal waters pictures the new life found in Christ. The person who was previously dead in sin has been made spiritually alive by the same power that raised up Jesus from the grave. Paul portrays this life change as putting on new clothes: “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27).
Water baptism identifies a person as a disciple of Christ and celebrates the passage from an old life into a new life in Christ. Simply stated, it is an outward sign of an inward change.
The Biblical word for “baptize” means to “immerse, douse, or saturate.” In the two full descriptions of baptism found in the New Testament, individuals were immersed in water. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River to identify Himself as God’s Son: “As soon as He was baptized, [He] went up out of the water” (Matthew 3:16).
The apostle Philip baptized the Ethiopian by going down into a body of water and coming up with him (Acts 8:38–39). In both of these examples, a large enough quantity of water was required to immerse the person.
Because of the meaning of the word baptize and the mode of the first baptisms, Redemption church practices baptism by immersion.
Though the Bible does not state a minimum age at which a person may be baptized, a believer should be old enough to understand the significance of baptism. Baptism is not required to receive God’s salvation. However, Redemption Church encourages all who have trusted in Christ for eternal life to be baptized as a step of obedience.
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