For Christians, the sacrament of baptism is an incredibly important rite of passage. Some view this moment as an agreement that the individual being baptized will forever follow the teachings of Jesus. The Bible makes the importance of this sacrament very clear. A prominent quote attributed to Jesus states: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Review these facts to gain more insight into this vital component of Christian beliefs. 

The Origins of Original Sin

Baptism can typically be viewed from a symbolic perspective. According to Christian teachings, humans are born with “original sin.” Essentially, this is a “blemish on the soul” that originates from the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve, the first humans created by God, decided to ignore God’s rules by eating of the forbidden fruit, they condemned all of humanity to be born sinners. The act of being baptized is essentially a way of washing this sin from a person. The consecrated water cleans body and soul, allowing the person to be “born anew.” 

The Right Age for Baptism

Since there are many denominations of Christianity, it makes sense that there are a number of different approaches to the baptismal practice. For example, those who are born into families who follow the Roman Catholic Church will usually be baptized as babies. However, this is not the case with all Christian sects. Many believe that a person needs to willingly make the choice to follow Christ. Since a baby cannot make this decision, certain branches of Christianity prefer to wait until a person is old enough to understand what he or she is agreeing to do. 

Interestingly, some Christians will be baptized more than once. If a person was baptized as a baby, he or she might feel as if the choice was made without full consent. To rectify this, followers will go through a second baptism as adults in order to feel as if the decision was made of their own volition. Baptism should “come at the start of Christian life,” so there is no right or wrong time to go through the sacrament. 

Baptism Is Simply the Beginning 

It is important to note that baptism is not a sacrament that “saves” a person from sin or potential damnation. Instead, being baptized is meant to act as an agreement. It is a promise made by the follower to walk in the light of God. To be considered saved and worthy of eternal paradise, a person must spend his or her life exemplifying what it means to be a Christian. Many branches of Christianity believe a person’s lifetime commitment to Jesus is far more important than the simple act of being baptized. 

Different Approaches to Baptism 

Baptism is often referred to as a process that helps a person be born again. This is where the water plays a significant role. Water is a natural resource that both sustains life and easily takes it away. When a person is baptized, he or she is often dunked below water. Though it is brief, the action is meant to showcase the concept of drowning and “killing the old way of life.” When the person emerges from the water, it is implied that he or she is a completely new person. 

The process does not always involve being completely submerged in water, however. When a baby is baptized, consecrated water from a special font is usually poured gently over the child’s forehead. Adults are typically taken to natural sources of water like rivers or lakes, where they can dip completely below the surface during the ritual. 

The Importance of Baptism

Baptism is often considered the first and most important step in identifying as a Christian. Whether a person goes through the process as a child or adult, the act of being baptized helps to ensure his or her place with God. 

Category: Ceremonies

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