BAPTISM STANDS FOR FORGIVENESS
It’s a picture of God washing away our sins. None of us is perfect (even your baby – it didn’t need teaching to be naughty, did it?), and as we grow up, we go on doing wrong – only we learn to cover it up better. So we all need God’s forgiveness.
When Jesus died on the Cross, he took our sins on to himself. This means that we can be forgiven and go free, even though we don’t deserve it). Jesus asks us to admit our need of forgiveness, and receive it from him.
BAPTISM STANDS FOR A NEW LIFE
It’s warmer in the land where Jesus lived, and the first Christians were baptized in the open water. Coming out of the water, it was as if a whole new life had started, and it’s the same today – it’s a spiritual life, with the Holy Spirit of Jesus living in us.
That life begins when we ask Jesus to forgive us and enter our lives. It’s wonderful to discover that he is a real person and experience the difference he can make to our lives.
WHY BAPTISE A CHILD?
Because his/her parents (or at least one parent) want him/her in due course to seek forgiveness and receive a new life with Jesus.
It was probably not many years after Jesus’ life on earth that children began to be baptised. In the Bible we read of whole households being baptised, when the head of the family became Jesus’ follower.
But if a child is to find forgiveness and a new life he or she needs not only to be taught about Jesus- they must see what the Christian faith means in action, especially in the lives of their parents and godparents. Christianity must be taught, but it must also be caught.
And that’s where the promises come in! At the baptism, parents and Godparents promise to live for Jesus themselves, and also to give the child a Christian upbringing.
THE BAPTISM SERVICE
When a child is too young to make the baptism promises for himself/herself, it is the parents responsibility not only to make those promises on the child’s behalf, but to declare their own belief in Jesus Christ, and their intention to bring up their child within the Christian faith, by their teaching, their prayers and their example.
In the service you are asked if you yourselves as parents and godparents are willing to turn to Christ; that is, to believe and trust in Christ and to follow his teaching and example in your lives.