C hu r ch Ac t ions 51 The pouring over of water symbolizes the washing away of sins and the outpouring of the Spirit. The method of baptism that may be used – whether immersion or pouring over – is unimportant. What matters is the intervention of God to fully cleanse, forgive, and heal the one baptized. 64 Baptism is the declaration of a good conscience with God. Through it the church witnesses to and seals salvation in the name of Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God.” At Pentecost, when many in the crowd were “cut to the heart” after realizing their guilt for the death of Christ, three thousand were baptized in one day. Such repentance and the conversion that follows it are the only sure ­foundations for baptism. True repentance is a gift of God. It is recognizable by a remorseful and contrite heart, a desire to confess one’s sins, and a changed life that shows fruits of a new spirit. One who truly repents will be determined never to sin willfully anymore, but rather to die than disobey God. 65 Baptism is a confession of faith – faith in Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary and son of God, who was born in poverty, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and will one day return to establish his kingdom fully on earth. Before a baptism is carried out in our church community, the candidate proclaims his or her faith in Matt 3:11; Acts 19:1–7; 22:16 John 4:23–24 John 1:12–13; 13:2–10 1 Pet 3:21 Acts 4:12 Eph 2:8 Acts 2:37–41 John 3:1–8 Pss 32; 51 Matt 3:6; Acts 19:17–20 2 Tim 2:19; Titus 2:11–14 Heb 12:1–17; 1 Jn 3:6 1 Pet 3:13—4:6 Acts 22:16; 1 Tim 6:12–16 Phil 2:5–11; 1 Tim 3:16