Essentials of Faith: Baptism

February 10, 2022 | Betsy Ferrer

This week begins a 4-post series from Family Ministries on the “Essentials of Faith,” intended to parallel what the Kids/Youth/ Adult “Discipling the Next Generation” Sunday School classes are studying during the month of February. We hope to share Stone Hill’s position on these essential doctrines, provide a few guidelines, and remind the church of the beauty and truth of these traditions and beliefs.

I hope you have witnessed several baptisms at Stone Hill. They are beautiful, aren’t they? How wonderful it is to celebrate grace, given in powerful, often unexpected ways. It is an opportunity to pause and be reminded of all that the Trinity offers us — God’s sacrificial lovingkindness, drawing us to Himself and into His family; Jesus’ death and resurrection; Spirit’s breath of life and renewal.

Perhaps you are wondering if you should be baptized or perhaps your child is asking you lots of questions (“When is MY turn?”). Baptism is more than just the “next step” in the Christian life, it is a picture of the gospel each time someone breathes again as they emerge from the water, symbolizing a new creation. Being baptized is publicly obeying Jesus’ command for those who are already His followers. Baptism doesn’t save you, for you are only saved by God’s grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Rather, baptism is an outward declaration of this faith to your local community of fellow believers. So, it is important to consider — what do I believe?

What do I believe about Jesus?  

Why did he die on the cross and why did he rise again, through God’s power?

How does my sin affect my relationship with him? What does he say about me?

What does He ask me to do in response?

If Jesus is my Lord, what does this mean for how I live each day?

(Helpful passages: Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23; 1 John 1:9; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-10,13; Col. 2:12-13; Rom. 6:3-11)

Being baptized does not require stifling every doubt or having all the answers. But you must know and love the One to whom you are declaring allegiance when you step into the waters.

Also consider your motivation: do you want to be baptized as a way to obey and love God or are you hoping to earn favor with God or make yourself look good to others?  (Isa. 64:6, Matt. 6:5) The act of professing your faith before the assembled body of Christ can be intimidating but can also keep you properly humble. Focus on bringing Him glory by telling of His work in your life, instead of thinking about how you appear to others. Rely on Jesus’ power and presence to help you, not on your own strength or abilities. This is a wonderful opportunity to put your faith into practice, keeping your eyes fixed on Him and trusting Him to help you speak boldly of your need and His gracious gift.

If you are having difficulty articulating what you believe, please don’t give up or move on.  Keep wrestling and ask Jesus to show himself in a new way, to give you eyes to see Him and a soft heart to receive Him. I believe He will answer these prayers (Matt. 7:7-8), so be ready and listen to His words. Listen also to other believers as they speak about their faith and why they love Jesus.

If your child hasn’t internalized their faith yet, continue to pray, read the Bible together, answer their questions, demonstrate grace and forgiveness and point out how He is working in your family. There is no ideal timetable that one must follow to be baptized. Be patient and trust that the Spirit is working in them!

Baptism is also a symbol of joining God’s family (1 Cor. 12:12-14). Stone Hill Church, let’s pray for those considering baptism to wrestle with what they believe and take a step of faith. Let’s pray for parents to gently and wisely lead their children in the knowledge and love of God, so the young may set an example for all of us in their faith, love, conduct, speech and purity. Pray that those seeking God will find Him, for soft hearts and iron resolve to follow Jesus, no matter the cost. Let’s share what baptism has meant for us and how God has worked in our lives for His glory. And let’s celebrate together all that God is doing among us on March 27, the next Baptism Sunday!

 What should I do if I’m interested in baptism?

Baptism FAQs (including Stone Hill’s stance and practice on infant baptism)