What Does It Mean to be Baptized?

As a child, I once sang a well-known Christmas song's verse like this, "Deck the halls with balls of bolly fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la." At the time that I misguidedly sung that verse, I was sure that the words were all correct. But when somebody explained to me that I was singing the wrong words, I listened to them as they sung them correctly, "Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la."

The fact that someone took a few moments to let me hear the correct words to the first verse of the song "Deck the Halls" changed my perspective about what that verse meant. No one I knew could ever explain what balls of bolly were anyway, but boughs of holly were understandable. I also considered the meaning of the words to the rest of the verses of that song, as well as other songs that I might have been singing in error. Eventually, I wanted to know what other words meant that I may have been saying that I didn't completely understand - other words like baptism.

Baptism is a curious word unless you have grown up going to church or are a "wordsmith" by nature. In Christianity, baptism is the symbolic ritual meant to indicate entry into the body of all believers in God who washes away their sins and gives them new spiritual life. The ritual of water baptism is performed by either aspersion, which is sprinkling of water on the head; affusion, which is pouring water over the head and immersion where a person is dipped into water or partially covered in water. Finally, there is total immersion or submersion where a person is placed completely under the water and raised up.

There is another form of baptism that Jesus instituted which is baptism by the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 is where you will find mentioned the baptism that Jesus performs which is not symbolic, but spiritually transformative and available if you believe in him. Let's discover what that kind of baptism means.

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