Baptism in water (Tutor notes)

As a new person in Christ, ruled over by the renewed spirit within, you have learned the need to turn to God in repentance and trust Him in faith. One of the great commands Jesus gave us was to follow Him. In baptism we follow Him in the sense of identifying with Christ in death, burial and resurrection, and to begin again in/with a new life.

(Luke 9:23 NRSV) Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Why water baptism?

The basis of baptism is a similar position as faced by Adam and Eve. They had to trust God that His instruction about not eating of the tree of good and evil was in their best interests. Reason had no answer to this situation, only faith had the solution. This is a “I will show you my faith by my actions” situation.

What does baptise mean?

Tutors will be likely to meet with the comment, “I have already been baptised when a child.”

You need to be very careful and diplomatic in these cases. A good approach is: “Could we leave that question until completion of this study and then discuss how you feel?” Alternatively, it’s helpful to contrast christening with baptism. In christening a child is given its “Christian” name, e.g. William. In baptism we have the name of the Lord Jesus Christ given to us.

Who should be baptised?

The essential point in this paragraph is the idea of believing, followed by repentance and faith. A discussion of the life of Jesus in relation to His dedication in the temple as a child then the later baptism in the Jordan might be useful in bringing out the idea of believer baptism.

The old man and the new man

1.10.1 Believer’s Baptism
The believer is baptised by immersion in water upon profession of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is an integral part of Christian initiation, but not essential for salvation.
It symbolises identification of the believer with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection; separation from the old way of life unto the Lord; and the newness of life now available in Christ.
Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38,41; 8:12-13,36-39; 9:17-8; 10:47-48; 16:14-15: 18:8; 19:4-5; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2: 12; Peter 3:20-21.

The above is a copy of the CRC charter re. water baptism. Note that this does not say “adult” baptism. Children can be believers and so are eligible for water baptism. Many children at quite young ages have been baptised in the Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues.

The Name and water baptism

In water baptism we receive the invocation of the name. There is called upon us the name of:
the Father,
the Son,
the Holy Spirit.

The words that are spoken

“I baptise you IN THE NAME
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so you also shall arise to walk in newness of life.”

Why these words are used

i. They quote the command of Matt 28:19, the words of Jesus, from the Gospel. Notice that in response to the command in Matt 28:19 the disciples in performing the rite of baptism baptised the converts into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Mat 28:18-20 NRSV) And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

ii. They invoke the Triune Name as declared and invoked in Acts 2:36,38.

(Acts 2:36 NRSV) Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:38 NRSV) Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”

iii. They declare the spiritual truth of baptism as set out in Roman’s 6:3 and 6:4 and in the New Testament Scriptures.

(Rom 6:3-4 NRSV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.