“The meaning of baptism” – Seeds of Faith – January 9, 2023

On July 23, 2022, the Republic Act. No. 11897 or the “NATIONAL BAPTIST DAY” became a law in the Philippines. As such, every second Thursday of January every year is a special working holiday in honor of Baptists.

Section 2 of the law states, “It is hereby the declared policy of the State to recognize the Baptists for the continuous pursuit of their evangelical mission to contribute to nation-building by establishing Christian schools that instill academic excellence and build character in individuals, and churches that proclaim, teach and share biblical principles for the betterment of society.” Moreover, this law recognizes “the important contribution of the Baptists in nation-building.”

Baptists were called as such because of the practice of baptism through immersion. The mode of baptism in the New Testament is through immersion. The Greek word baptizo means to ‘immerse’ or to ‘dip.’ Scholarly exegetes and church historians would always affirm that baptism in the Bible is “immersion of the believer.”

The Baptist principle of “regenerated church membership” is related to baptism. The church as revealed in the New Testament was composed exclusively of “regenerated persons” as Baptist missionaries to the Philippines would emphasize. In order to become a member of a Baptist church a person had to accept Jesus Christ in public and submit to baptism by immersion.

What do we mean by regenerated church membership? The synonym of regenerate is refresh, rejuvenate, renew, restore, revitalize, and rekindle. In other words, to give a new lease of life. As regenerated church members, we must become generators in giving life to those persons who have no hope in life, to those persons whose will to live have died so that they themselves will be refreshed, rejuvenated, renewed, restored, revitalized or rekindled.

Paul in Colossians 2:12 says that we been buried with Jesus Christ in baptism and we have been raised with Christ also. Romans 6:4 explicitly says, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Therefore, baptism, as the Baptists believe, expresses symbolically a series of acts corresponding to the redeeming acts of Christ: immersion (death), submersion (burial), and emergence (resurrection).

The significance of Baptism can be seen in this statement published by Judson Press:

“We affirm baptism as a human response to God’s action. God has acted in Jesus Christ to save us. That is what Philip explained to the Ethiopian; that is the essential message of the gospel we share. That action is an invitation to us — an invitation to faith in this God who in great love makes the sacrifice that brings salvation to us. Baptism is our response to that invitation. God offers us forgiveness of sins; baptism is the sign that we have accepted that offer. God gives the gift of new life in Jesus Christ; baptism is the sign that we have accepted that gift. God calls us to live lives worthy of the gift that we have been given; baptism is the sign that we have accepted that call.”

May God bless us all!


Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Office of Communications
Central Philippine University