Common Questions about Water Baptism

Does Water Baptism Save You?

Baptism does not save you. It’s clearly established in the Bible that you are saved only by accepting God’s free gift of grace.

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9

While baptism is not what saves us, baptism is necessary in that Christ commands it. To understand the reason for being baptized, it is important to carefully consider what the Bible says about it. Check out the next couple of questions to get more context on this.


Why Should I Consider Getting Water Baptized?

It’s an opportunity to follow Jesus’ example.

Jesus, Himself, was baptized. He was not a sinner, yet He humbled Himself in obedience to identify with us and give us an example to follow. All genuine Christ-followers should want to obey Jesus by doing what He said.

One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized Him in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water, He saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” Mark 1:9-11

It’s an act of obedience.

Throughout Scripture, we are taught to live a life of obedience—to back up our faith with actions—so that we grow closer in our relationship with God and live a life that points others to Him. Baptism is the first step for those who choose to follow Christ.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

It allows you to go public with your faith.

Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus. It is a public profession of your faith in Jesus and your commitment to Him. It is the next step after salvation and is an important foundation for the Christian life.

And then He told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16


What Is The Meaning And Significance of Water Baptism?

It allows you to identify with Christ’s death and resurrection.

Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead.

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. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:12-14

It’s a celebration of your new life.

Baptism is also a symbol of your new life in Christ. When we come out of the water during baptism, it symbolizes that we have buried the old life of sin and have been raised to a new life in Christ. Here is one simple way to explain baptism:

A wedding ring is a symbol of the covenant between a husband and a wife. In the same way, baptism is a symbol of our commitment to Christ. Wearing a wedding ring doesn’t make you married and removing it doesn’t end your marriage—it is simply the symbol of the commitment you made to each other. And much like a wedding is a formal ceremony where the bride and groom—in front of family and friends—profess their love and commitment to each other publicly, baptism is the public declaration of your faith and your relationship with Jesus.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Romans 6:4

It opens a door to a blessed life.

God honors obedience. Baptism confirms our identity in Christ and invites God’s blessings on us, as His children.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:21

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 28:1-2


How Does River Valley Baptize People?

The word baptize comes from the Greek word baptizo which means “to immerse or submerge.”

“After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him. Matthew 3:16

Every baptism in the Bible was done by immersion. The book of Acts shows us that this was the norm for every believer. At River Valley, we believe that if you’re physically able, you should get completely submerged.

“He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.” Acts 8:38-39


Who Should Be Water Baptized?

Every person who has made the decision to follow Jesus should get baptized. The only requirement is that they’ve chosen to put their faith in trust in Christ.

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. Acts 2:41

But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. Acts 8:12.

Some churches baptize infants and others don’t. While Christians can debate this, we should never divide over it. At River Valley, we don’t baptize infants because every baptism recorded in the Bible occurred when someone was old enough to make a faith decision. Instead of baptizing infants, we encourage Christian parents to participate in child dedication. This is a ceremony in which parents formally call upon God’s blessing on their child and publicly commit to raise their child in accordance with Scripture.

We believe in baptizing kids when they are old enough to understand what it means and have made a personal decision to make Jesus the leader of their life.


When Should I Get Water Baptized?

Believers in the New Testament were baptized the same day. As soon as a person decides to believe in Christ, they can and are encouraged to be baptized. While getting baptized the same day was the practice in the New Testament, it’s often not possible today, but that’s okay! Our campuses offer baptism services around 4 times a year.

Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. Acts 2:41

So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:35-39.


If I Was Baptized As An Infant In Another Church, Should I Get Baptized Again?

Your infant baptism was certainly a very special moment for your family. Once you personally come to an age where you can decide for yourself to follow Christ, believer’s baptism is the next step. Don’t be afraid to get re-baptized as an act of worship and obedience to Christ.