Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 20000916-20071204)
We are baptised by the authority of God the Father. We are then placed, as betrothed, into the body of the Son. This is through the activity and power of God's Holy Spirit. It is based upon repentance and conversion in response to the calling.
Baptism is the first of the two sacraments of the Church. The second is the Lord’s Supper, which may not be taken without repentance and baptism. (See the paper The Sacraments of the Church (No. 150).) We are saved by grace through faith, but we come under condemnation through breaking God's Covenant Law (Rom. 5:20-6:19). We receive and retain God's Holy Spirit conditionally.
Along with preaching and teaching, baptism is part of the commission given to the Church of God.
Mark 16:15-16 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Matthew 28:19 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.
The decision regarding Baptism is a three-part process:
First we must repent, meaning change;
Second we are baptized for the remission of sin;
Third we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Repentance requires us to change and turn away from our former sinful manner of living, and live in harmony with what God desires. It is not simple remorse, but a complete alteration to our code of conduct. If we give our ways to the Lord He will establish our thoughts (Prov. 16:3).
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy. (RSV)
We must repent, and we must believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Together this produces conversion and our willing participation so that our sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19). Unless we repent we will perish (Lk. 13:1-5).
Baptism by immersion symbolises the death of our former way of life in sin, which is Law- or Commandment-breaking (1Jn. 3:4). We must be immersed completely in water, and 'buried' to life so we would die unless raised out of the water (Rom. 6:1-9). Coming out of a watery grave symbolises a resurrection to a new way of life (cf. the paper Repentance and Baptism (No. 52)).
We are baptised into Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:3) and not into any sect, denomination or church. This is into one Body with many members (1Cor. 12:13-14). We must be transformed (Rom. 12:1-2), growing in grace and knowledge (2Pet. 3:18) and bearing fruit (Gal. 5:22-23) fit as evidence of our repentance (see also the paper Fruit of the Holy Spirit (No. 146)).
There is, however, a cost. This should be given thought, or counted, before this step of baptism is taken (Lk. 14:25-33).
The Holy Spirit is conferred at the direction of God, signified by the laying on of hands. Thus the Holy Spirit enters the repentant individual. The person (or persons) laying on of hands does so as the representative of the Church, and does not himself confer the Holy Spirit. The Spirit draws the elect to God through Christ (Heb. 7:25), and the first-fruits of the Spirit are given to the individual at his or her baptism (Rom. 8:23). (See also the paper The Holy Spirit (No. 117).)
All of humanity has sinned! We all must admit having sinned.
1John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Recommended Ceremony for Baptism
The candidate is to be duly counselled for baptism beforehand, and is to be baptised by immersion at an appropriate safe place.
This may be done prior to Passover or at the Feasts of the Lord, but may also be done at any time decided by the minister performing the ceremony.
The candidate is to be accompanied by the officer performing the ceremony, who is to inspect the site for safety.
In the water, the minister will say the following words (minus quotations):
State your full name:
Do you believe that there is one God who is Father of all, and one Lord Jesus Christ?
(cf. 1Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6)
Have you repented of your sins?
(cf. Lk. 13:3; 11:32; Acts 3:19; 2:38)
Are you aware that you are dead in your sins and in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ?
(cf. Rom. 6:10-12)
Do you believe that Christ died to cover the debt for your sins?
(cf. 2Cor. 5:21; Heb. 10:14-17; Col. 4:12-14).
Do you believe that Christ’s sacrifice was accepted by God, and that He raised Christ from the dead?
(cf. Rom. 10:9; Heb. 10:10-12)
Do you undertake to keep the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus Christ, the Messiah?
(cf. Rev. 12:17; 14:12)
We now baptise you for the remission of sin.
The candidate is then to be told to cross his or her arms and hold his or her nose, and the minister performing the ceremony is to place his hand behind the candidate for support and lower the person backwards into the water, ensuring that the person is fully immersed.
The candidate may then be taken to dry ground (which is preferable if there are a number to be baptised), to kneel down and the minister(s) are to lay hands on the person’s head and say:
We baptise this person [given name] by authority of and into your Name and into the Body of your Son the Messiah, by and into the power of the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, Father, we request that the Holy Spirit is placed in this person in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
The person is then to be given the charge as follows:
We hereby declare that you are baptised into the name of God our Father, who is God and Father of all.
We baptised you into the Body of His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah
(cf. Rom. 12:4-5; Eph. 4:4,12,16),
(cf. 1Cor. 12:12-27),
as his bethrothed
(cf. Rom. 7:4; Rev. 19: 7-9).
You are not baptised into any sect or denomination.
You are baptised by authority of Jesus Christ and by the power of God's Holy Spirit.
(cf. 2Cor. 5.5; Rom. 8:23; 1Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:25)