Baptism is a sacrament—a practice instituted by Jesus—for the New Testament Church. When we administer baptism to someone, the church officially and solemnly admits them into the church body as a member. Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace to his people in the church—his promise to us that he saves and is faithful to them. We believe baptism is a continuation of circumcision—the sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace in the Old Testament.
Baptism is also a sign of the believer’s engrafting into Christ, that is, their rebirth, which is an acknowledgment of the remission of sins, and their yielding to God through Jesus Christ to walk in newness of life.
As Jesus directed in Matthew 28:19-20, we should practice baptism until he comes back and makes all things new again.
The minister administers baptism by sprinkling water over the individual, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is not only for those who profess faith in and obedience to Christ but is also for the infants and children of one or both believing parents. Because it is a declaration of God’s faithfulness to his church, we believe baptism should never be neglected or put off. However, we also believe baptism is not inseparably connected with God’s grace and salvation. One can be saved without baptism; on the other hand, everyone who is baptized is not automatically saved.
Finally, baptism’s effectiveness is not dependent upon the moment it occurs. But when we practice baptism, we tangibly experience the grace promised, embodied, and conferred by the Holy Spirit to everyone to whom that grace is given, according to the purpose of God’s own will and in his appointed time, whenever that may occur in their lifetime. Therefore, we believe if a Christian church has already baptized you, Grace Presbyterian Church (or any other church!) does not need to baptize you again. Baptism signifies God’s faithfulness and promises to you, even if you were unaware of them at the time of your baptism.