Baptism isn’t required for salvation, but it is the first step of obedience for believers. The baptismal water doesn’t save anyone. It’s Jesus who does that. Baptism is a picture of the work that Jesus has done in a person’s heart.
Baptism illustrates Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as seen in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. It shows our new life as a follower of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Baptism doesn’t make you a believer. It shows that you already believe. Baptism doesn’t save you; Jesus does! Baptism is like a wedding ring that signifies a relationship that has already formed. We follow Jesus’ example in baptism. He was baptized (Mark 1:9) and commanded us to be baptized (Matthew 28:19-20).
At First Baptist Cleveland, we baptize by immersion. That is the example we see throughout Scripture and the basis for the meaning of the word “baptize,” which means to immerse (or dip under) in water.