Water. We drink it, cook with it, swim in it, and bathe in it. We also use it in a Christian ritual -- Baptism. But the value of water in Baptism is in symbol, not substance.

Baptism is a spiritual Right of Passage

Spiritual life involves constant progress. That progress is marked by transitions from one level of faith to another. Your Baptism is the mark of your most important transition.

The ritual of Baptism helps you envision and remember the model of Jesus Christ when He was crucified, buried, and returned to life. When Christ rose, His body was not quite as it had previously been. He was free from the limitations and pain of mortality. This is the transition from death to life.

The Christian life follows His pattern. You "sacrifice" your life by giving it to God. Your old life, with its wrong actions and evil desires, is "buried." God then gives you a new life, inspired and energized by His Spirit. Baptism represents this three-stage process. You believe in Jesus and join Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism is your rite-of-passage into the Christian life.

If you are willing to be baptized, you are ready for the sacrifices -- and for the joy -- of following Jesus.

The Spiritual Significance

Something happens in Baptism that we can neither see nor control. It is the invisible work of God's Spirit in the person being baptized. We tend to exaggerate the external rite of Baptism -- and to miss the more important spiritual part.

Baptism is a physical act, but it is NOT "magic." When a person of genuine faith is baptized as an act of obedience to Jesus, that person is "initiated" into the Church, which is God's spiritual community on earth (First Corinthians 12:13). This person's Baptism becomes a powerful witness of God's forgiveness, of the end of the person's old life, and of the beginning of the person's new life in Christ.

The Physical Ritual

The act of Baptism involves being submerged in water -- or, sometimes, sprinkled with water -- to symbolize the death, the burial, and the resurrection which we share with Christ (Romans 6:3-7). As the person being baptized is immersed, the minister pronounces the words, "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." In this way, the person "acts out" his (or her) new allegiance to God, and identifies himself (or herself) with God's people.

Who Should Be Baptized?

Every Christian needs to be baptized and should try to make baptism one of his (or her) first spiritual acts (Matthew 28:19). The rest of a person's Christian life depends upon a willingness to obey Jesus and to go with Him through death into new life.

Jesus commands you (when you become a Christian) to be baptized because He wants to mark you as His own, to fill you with His Spirit, to make you a member of His Church, and to have you grow in God.

Baptism is a Wonderful Experience

Jesus does something special for you in Baptism by making it a recognizable point in time when you left your old life and entered into your new life. Through Baptism, He brings you another step closer to God's design for you.

Calvary Chapel celebrates Baptism as an act of worship. The whole church is involved. We sing; we pray; we seek to draw close to God. When YOU are being baptized, it's good to know that God is near and, on the other side of your Baptism, that the Church welcomes you into a more complete, Christ-ordered life.