If you see an infant or adult baptized in our church, you’ll see the pastor pouring water over their head saying the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” We get these words from Jesus Himself who said to His disciples “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)
You might be asking “what’s the significance of plain water being poured over someones head during a church service? Well, it’s not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with His Word. The focus should not be on the water. Whether you’re dunked and fully immersed in water, or water is just sprinkled on your head, the focus is not on the water, but the Word of God the water is combined with.
The water by itself is nothing, but with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus, chapter three: “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” (Titus 3:5–8)
Baptism is significant; it is a gift God has given us so that we may have forgiveness of sins and faith in Jesus Christ our Savior. God has promised that in Baptism we are made new, and given the promise of ever lasting life as baptism is directly connected with Jesus’s death and resurrection.
“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.” (Romans 6:4)
The gift of Baptism is given to all people; everyone from the newborn infant who is less than a minute old to the elderly man who wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but came to learn of God’s love for him much later in life. In Acts chapter two, Peter preaches to the crowds. When they learn of their need to be saved, they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”