So part of God’s Story is about baptism, and it goes like this.
Baptism is a picture of God’s Rescue Plan, and a way to remember what Jesus did for us:
From the very beginning, people have made wrong choices and are separated from God. But God still loves people, even when we make bad choices. And so he sent his only Son, Jesus, to take the punishment for every wrong thing that has ever been done, anywhere -- so that no one would have to stay separated from God. Jesus lived a perfect life, died, was buried, and rose again! He showed that God wants to give everyone new life in him.
Once we’ve heard about Jesus and want to receive his Rescue, the next steps to get baptized are to REPENT and BELIEVE.
When we REPENT, we realize we’ve messed up and we need God to forgive us. Then, we start obeying Jesus, by doing things God wants us to do -- being generous, serving others, and showing love to others. That’s what happened to a guy named Paul:
Paul was famous for being mean to people who followed Jesus. He was going to a city called Damascus to get people who followed Jesus thrown in jail, or put to death. Suddenly, a blinding light knocked Paul to the ground, and a voice spoke from heaven: “Paul, Paul, why are you persecuting me?” After that, Paul repented. He stopped PERSECUTING people -- and started FOLLOWING Jesus! And after he repented, the first thing Paul did was, he got baptized. He’s known as the “Apostle Paul,” because everywhere he went, he told people about Jesus.
After repenting, the next step is to BELIEVE in Jesus. Some people get baptized right away, as soon as they start believing in Jesus. Like in the story of Philip and the man from Ethiopia:
Philip was a follower of Jesus, and one day he met a man from Ethiopia who was traveling in a chariot. When Philip told him JESUS was the Rescuer, the man stopped his chariot and hopped out. He said to Philip, “Look, there’s some water. What can stand in the way of me getting baptized?” So Philip went into the water with him, and baptized him right there, by the side of the road, in front of everyone! He probably didn’t even have a change of clothes!
When someone has heard about the Rescue, repented of their wrong choices, and believed in Jesus, they’re ready for baptism. To be baptized, the person gets dunked in water. They go under the water because they’re laying down their old life, and because Jesus laid his life down for us. But just like Jesus rose again, they come back out of the water, ready for the new life God promises. It’s a way to show the world, “I follow Jesus.”
Now, baptism doesn’t mean everything will suddenly be perfect. Only Jesus was perfect. Bad things still might happen, and even people who’ve been baptized will make wrong choices sometimes. But when that happens, they don’t have to get baptized again. Instead, they can remember how Jesus rescued them. No matter what, we can always ask God to forgive us. And He always will, because he loves us.
And THAT’s a part of what the Bible says about Baptism. So in case you missed it, here’s the quick version:
Baptism helps us remember God’s rescue. Going under the water reminds us Jesus died for us. Coming out of the water reminds us Jesus rose again. Jesus told people to “repent and believe.” Saul repented and became a follower of Jesus. Anyone who gets baptized can have new life in Jesus.
And THAT’s the story of Baptism.