Baptism is a sacred and significant sacrament in the Christian faith, and within Methodism, it holds deep theological and spiritual significance. Here is what you need to know about baptism and what steps you need to take to become baptized.
- Symbol of Grace: Baptism is considered a visible sign of God’s grace at work in an individual’s life. Through baptism, Methodists believe that God initiates a covenant with the person, showering them with love, forgiveness, and spiritual blessings.
- New Birth: Baptism symbolizes a spiritual rebirth. Methodists believe that through baptism, a person is born anew into God’s family, becoming a part of the universal Church.
- Incorporation into Christ’s Body: Baptism marks the incorporation of an individual into the body of Christ, the Church. It signifies unity with other believers and fosters a sense of community and belonging.
- Forgiveness of Sins: Methodists view baptism as a means of forgiveness and purification from sin. It is an act of repentance and a commitment to follow Christ.
The Steps of Baptism at First United Methodist Church
Before baptism, there is usually a period of preparation. The person seeking baptism or their parents/guardians (in the case of infant baptism) meet with a minister to discuss the sacrament, its meaning, and the individual’s commitment to faith.
2. Elements of the Sacrament
- Profession of Faith: For adult candidates, baptism follows a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This declaration is a personal acknowledgment of their belief in Christ’s teachings and the acceptance of His grace.
- Affirmation of Faith (For Infant Baptism): In the case of infant baptism, the parents or guardians, along with the congregation, make promises to raise the child in the Christian faith, teaching them about God’s love, Jesus’ teachings, and the significance of baptism.
- Water Baptism: The act of baptism typically involves the pouring, sprinkling, or immersion of water on the person’s forehead. This symbolic act represents the cleansing from sin and the new life in Christ.
- Baptismal Covenant: After the water baptism, a solemn baptismal covenant is made. The person being baptized (or their parents/guardians) vows to live a life of faith and discipleship, and the Church promises to support and nurture them in their journey.
3. Life Long Transformation
Baptism is the beginning of a lifelong journey of discipleship. After baptism, the individual is encouraged to grow in faith, participate in the life of the Church, engage in prayer and study of Scripture, and pursue acts of service and love towards others. Our goal as Christians is through the justifying and then sanctifying grace of God to be made perfect in God’s love.