What is the purpose of water baptism? What does it signify in the life of a believer? In the early church, baptism was used as a symbol of a person’s decisive and public stand as a Christian or, follower of Jesus Christ.
In water baptism, as we are immersed in the water, we are symbolically united with Christ in His death and burial. When we come up out of the water, we are symbolically united with Christ in His resurrection. Water baptism is a public declaration of our total identification with Christ. We are stating that we have died to our old sinful and selfish life and that we intend to walk in newness of life with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
When we baptize someone at The Village Chapel, it is an opportunity for that person to make a public declaration of their faith in Christ, which includes recognizing several things:
I confess that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. This expresses my understanding of the personal nature of my sin. I am aware not only that sin exists somewhere in the world, but that it exists in my heart too. I acknowledge that I have sinned and that my sin separates me from God. The effect of sin also separates me from others and, in some ways, even from myself. Because of my sin, I am unable to be the person God really wants me to be. Since I am powerless to save myself, I need to be rescued from this condition of selfishness. In Biblical terminology, I need a Savior.
I profess that I desire to turn away from my sin and toward God. The Bible calls this act “repentance,” and it simply means we desire to turn away from our sin and turn toward God. In so doing, I am saying I desire to put God in charge of my life. I have a desire to begin “walking” with God or living as God would live if He were me.
I declare that I have placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am saying to any and all witnesses that I have placed my faith, hope and confidence in Jesus Christ. That as God’s love and grace have overwhelmed me, He has opened my eyes to understand the great news of salvation through Christ. I have responded by opening my heart to receive this free gift of salvation in Christ and I no longer depend on my own goodness or righteousness. I place my complete trust in what Jesus Christ has done when He died on the cross for my sins, was buried, and burst forth from the tomb, resurrected to a new life.
In ancient times of the early church, there is evidence that candidates for water baptism would sometimes recite the Apostle’s Creed as part of their profession of faith and decision to become followers of Jesus Christ. This creed is the oldest summary statement of the Christian faith. We encourage those being baptized here at The Village Chapel to take the time to both study and memorize “The Apostle’s Creed” as we may use it in the baptismal service.
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell. On the third day, He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting.