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8. Baptism

8.1 A sacrament sounds like something "sacred." Is that correct?
Yes! A sacrament is a sacred or holy act God does for His people—which takes away their sin and makes them holy or sacred. It is a divine act

8.2 How can Baptism save me? I thought Jesus does the saving.
Undoubtedly Jesus saved us by paying for our sins on the cross. But Baptism is a means by which He gives us the forgiveness and peace He earned through His suffering, death and resurrection. See means of grace.

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8.3 Who is doing the work or action in Baptism -- the individual or God?
Baptism is entirely God's work, 100 percent upon and towards the individual. Remember, it is not what your word says about God; rather, it is what God's Word says about you. You are forgiven because God says you are. God is making the public announcement, not the individual.

8.4 Why is Baptism not just water only?
Only the Word of God can forgive us of our sins, without God's forgiving Word, one is just "swimming" aimlessly.

8.5 Why is Baptism not just Word only, do I really have to get wet?
Baptism is not simply a spiritual event in the life of the individual, but also a physical event that can be witnessed and experienced through our senses. God reminds us His salvation is not just for our spirit, but for our spirit and body. We "take the plunge," so to speak, and get wet in Baptism to remind us Jesus has washed us completely-body and spirit. The word for "baptize" in the original language of the New Testament is the general word for washing.

8.6 Is there only one special way to get baptized?
All that is required is water and God's Word, "I baptize you in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." The amount of water used, the location of our Baptism, or the time we are baptized, does not matter. Water can be sprinkled or poured on the person, or the person can be dipped in it; any way is acceptable. Some Christians insist Baptism is only valid if the entire body is immersed in the water. But Jesus never specifically requires immersion; instead, He commands His church to baptize. Jesus showed by His use of the word "baptize" in connection with cleaning up after meals that it can refer to immersion, pouring or sprinkling:

When they washed (baptized) dining couches, they certainly did not immerse them.

Sponsors, also known as "godparents," are not necessary, but are certainly helpful to the newly baptized person. Sponsors are to help the new Christian (1) grow in his or her faith; (2) understand and use God's Word; and (3) appreciate the many blessing of Baptism. In the case of young children getting baptized, sponsors are witnesses who can attest the child was actually baptized.

8.7 If Baptism is so important, why is it not mentioned in the Old Testament?
Baptism is mentioned first in the New Testament in the third chapter of Matthew. Besides, very early in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, God instituted a holy act that was the Old Testament equivalent of Baptism. + / -

8.8 Why do most Christians baptize infants?
While some churches object to this, it is the long-standing teaching of the vast majority of Christians.

The Bible gives us four reasons as to why infants should be baptized:

8.9 Don't children have to be old enough to believe?
No one, no matter their age, is able to believe on their own. The Bible teaches that if a person has faith, it is always given by the Holy Spirit.

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8.10 If I was baptized as a baby, do I need to be re-baptized as an adult?
No! You have been given your name at birth, and it remains with you the rest of your life, right? Well, so does the promise of God upon you at your Baptism; it is with you forever!

8.11 Can I be saved without Baptism?
A famous Church Father of the early Christian church, St. Augustine, once said, "It is not the absence of Baptism that condemns us, but the absence of faith." God makes it clear to us that He wants us to be baptized and to baptize. To argue otherwise would be rejecting God's loving and gracious will for us.

In the case of babies or young children we baptize first, then teach the faith when they are old enough to understand. In the case of older children and adults, we teach the faith first, then baptize. This is because the Holy Spirit creates saving faith through the Word of God and through Baptism.

8.12 Is Baptism a "get-into-heaven-free card"?
Baptism truly brings us Jesus' salvation because of the faith the Holy Spirit creates in us through water and the Word. It is this faith in Jesus Christ that makes us right in God's eyes. If a baptized person rejects the faith and never returns to Jesus Christ, his baptism will not save him.

But while this life continues, God still holds out His offer of salvation through our Baptism—no matter how long ago we were baptized. When God brings us to repentance through His Law and restores our faith in Jesus through the Gospel, our Baptism again joins us to Christ's death and resurrection. Our sins are removed, and we are God's children anew.

8.13 What is the significance of Baptism in our daily life?
Thinking about Baptism reminds us that every day our old, sinful nature, with its evil actions and desires, should be drowned by our repentance. Through God's forgiveness and Baptism, we are daily washed clean and can live new lives of goodness and holiness.

The name of the game in Baptism is assurance! We can be assured we are saved by God because He says so by the power of His Word!