By Pastor Ed Collins
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
On August 28, 2016, the North Christian Church congregation gathered out in front to celebrate the baptism of several of its members, ranging in age from 10-70 years old. Only two people were officially scheduled to be baptized, but others were led by the Spirit to proclaim their faith publicly on this momentous day.
Evangelist Scott Grande opened the celebration with prayer and words from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He reminded attendees that water baptism is symbolic of what God has accomplished to make us new creatures. The believer being submerged under the water symbolizes the identification with the death and burial of Jesus Christ, and its resultant victory over sin. Coming out from the water is the identification with Jesus Christ’s resurrection and a picture of new life in Him.
“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5).
When asking those baptized to share about their experience, one person explained, “I grew up Catholic, and was baptized when I was very young and didn’t know what it meant. However, I did not go through with the Catholic sacrament of confirmation (which is to confirm the choice your parents made to baptize you) because I did not have a relationship with God at that time. Shortly after our family started coming to NCC, I not only accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I began a wonderful and fulfilling relationship with God. My life was changed, and I became a new creature! I was so happy to be baptized. I was so grateful to be there with my husband and children in addition to my beloved church family. It was a wonderful experience to publicly declare my love and devotion for Christ and for everyone to witness my commitment to following the narrow path and nurturing the new creature.”
Another member shared her gratitude for being cleansed by the saving work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross: “I felt that I was starting with a new slate before Jesus. I wish that I had gone through the baptism earlier than later. I felt truly honored to have been a participant in this special day”. One of the children expressed her excitement to be baptized, stating that she wanted “… to have a full relationship with God.”
No matter the age, each believer experiences water baptism on a uniquely personal and intimate level. As a church family, we experience a collective joy in sharing in one another’s faith and the opportunity for this public celebration! Our prayer is that public displays of faith will lead even more in our community to new life in Christ.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).