Baptism and Salvation
United Methodists are glad to baptize people at whatever age or stage they come for baptism. There is no time too soon, and no time too late, to begin one’s journey with Christ and life in the community of faith. Baptism marks the beginning of all of that, whenever it may come in our lives.
Baptism begins God’s work of saving us by cleansing us of sin and beginning the work of renewing us fully into the image of Christ. The key word here is beginning. Baptism starts the process. It does not complete it. We can choose by our action or inaction to let the work begun go dormant and have no fuller effect. Or, as John Wesley sometimes put it, we may “sin away the grace received at baptism.”
We say baptism is the “ordinary” or “instituted” means of justifying grace. It is the usual way God has offered the church to enable people of any age to experience the justifying grace of God and the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Salvation normally begins taking root in people’s lives here. From here we are invited to keep growing in sanctifying grace until by God’s grace and our faithful response we are “made perfect in love in this life.”
Baptism is all about beginnings. Whenever you’re ready to begin a life of discipleship to Jesus Christ with the church, and the church is ready to help you take your next steps, that’s a good time to be baptized.