The church I serve in Vermont has a large number of people attending who did not grow up going to church on a regular basis. Many of the people either have no affiliation with a church or have a very loose connection to some church that they were never really very connected with and have not attended in many years. As a result of this lack of regular connection to a church, many of my friends who come to church don't know much about some of the basic pieces of theology that are important to a healthy spirituality. One of those issues of that baptism. I have found it important to teach what the Bible says about this subject on a somewhat frequent basis. This frequent teaching has helped many people find a great sense of peace as they consider this most important Christian experience.
According to the New Testament, baptism is the way that Christians publicly proclaim their faith in Christ. It is a picture of how Christ died for us, was buried for us, and rose again for us. When we stand in the water we are saying that we are taking our stand for Christ. As we are dipped under the water it symbolizes us "dying and being buried" to our old way of life and when we come up out of the water it symbolizes how we are raised to "new life" through our faith in Christ.
Baptism does not "save" us, but it does show the world that we have already been "saved" from our sin. The New Testament makes it very clear that every person who has trusted Jesus as their Savior and made a commitment to follow Him should be baptized after making that decision. Obviously, if a person has never been baptized at all, then it makes sense that they would be baptized after they make a sincere commitment to Christ. If we realize we are in this category, we should pray about getting baptized right away out of obedience and devotion to Christ. It will enhance our connection to God and improve our personal spirituality.
Sometimes people were baptized by their parents before they were old enough to understand what it was all about. While that is a very lovely ceremony to watch, we cannot find any examples in the Bible of an infant or small child being baptized. In the Bible, people were always baptized only AFTER they made a deep and sincere commitment to Jesus Christ. When people who were baptized by their parents finally make the choice for themselves to become Christians, they should get re-baptized as a testimony of their own faith. It does not mean they didn't appreciate what their parents did for them, nor does it "undo" their previous baptism, it simply means that now they are making this decision for themselves. Parents should rejoice that their kids have come to a place of committed faith in Christ and support them in their own faith decision.
While there is no "perfect" age to be baptized, it is very common for young people ages 13-24 to have the spiritual and emotional maturity to be able to think this through on their own and come to this conclusion for themselves. Therefore that is a common age for people to be baptized once they have trusted Christ as Savior.
There is something powerful about being baptized. It gives us a sense of spiritual cleansing. It makes us feel close to God. It is also a step of obedience to God, since He is the one who told us to do it once we had trusted His Son as our Saviour.
If you want to be baptized, talk to your pastor. If you live in the Central Vermont area, send me a message on Facebook or by email and we can set up a time to talk. Once you feel like you understand it all, I would consider it an honor to baptize you. Pray about it.