When someone is baptized, whether as an adult or a child, they begin a new life. This new life is a gift from God. Mysteriously, but truly, He comes and breathes this new life into us by His Spirit. Jesus described it as a birth. He told Nicodemus, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God”. (St. John 3.5)
As a sign of this new birth, water is poured over our heads three times: in the Name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is an outward sign of an inner washing away of sin. We need this, even as babies, because we are just people, susceptible to all kinds of temptations, weaknesses and faults.
Something else happens in Baptism: our Heavenly Father adopts us as His own child, and makes us a member of His family, the Church. He also gives us an eternal inheritance – a place in Heaven where we will live with Him forever.
Baptism is not something invented by the Church. It is a gift from God. The Lord Jesus told His disciples to go into the world and baptize people in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (St. Matthew 28.20) But He didn’t just tell them to do it, He was baptized Himself. As the sinless Son of God He did not need to be baptized; He did so as an example for us. Jesus also suffered and died on the Cross as our Substitute, and the perfect Sacrifice for our sins. By dying and rising again, He defeated the power of sin and death – and all the forces of hell – for us. That’s why we make the sign of the Cross on the person’s head when they are baptized. It is to say, “You can do this with Jesus as your Saviour!”
The new life we receive when we are baptized is real, and therefore it requires action on our part. We must lean into it by faith and live it. We must believe God’s promise, and we must repent – that means turning away from our old way of life and living differently with God and His Church. The Lord knows how difficult this is for us, so He comes to live in us by His Spirit. No matter how many times we fail, He stays with us to help us. As the Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 St. John 1.9) There is lots more that could be said.
If you are interested in talking some more about baptism and the new life in Christ, the clergy at St. George’s would be glad to meet with you!
If you are interested in Baptism for you or your child, please complete the "Request for Baptism".
(Please note that Godparents must be baptized and prepared to make the promises on behalf of the child.)