What is baptism?
Baptism has been described as an outward expression of an inward commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is a public proclamation of a personal decision to identify with Christ. In baptism, we illustrate the powerful truth that, in Christ, we have died to sin and are raised to new life in Him (Rom. 6:4). Because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection, we have been forgiven of our sins. Christ took our sin on Himself and suffered the consequences--death. In rising from the grave, Christ conquered death and offers His righteousness to those who turn away from sin and believe in Him. Baptism not only proclaims this message, it proclaims one's personal commitment to this message.
Why is baptism important?
There are few reasons we think baptism is an important step of obedience for every follower of Christ.
Jesus gave the example of baptism. In Matthew 3, we find the account of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus certainly didn't need baptism--He was the sinless Son of God. Yet He submitted to baptism, in part, as a model for His followers.
Jesus commanded baptism. In sending His followers out, Jesus gave the commission to baptize disciples in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18-20). We practice baptism as an act of obedience to Jesus.
Baptism gives a powerful image of Christ's work. The imagery of immersing the follower of Christ in the water then raising him or her back up out of the water is a metaphor of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Every time we practice baptism, we share the news of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.
Is baptism required?
We wish to be very clear on this--baptism is not a requirement of salvation. It is by His grace alone that God saves us. We cannot earn or add to this salvation through any good works, including baptism. Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone.
However, it is also important to note that baptism is a requirement for membership with Live Oaks Bible Church. We believe baptism is an important step of obedience that every Christ-follower should take.
What do I do if I want to be baptized?
We would love to help you pursue baptism. You can contact the staff to learn more about our baptism orientation sessions.