We had an exciting event at our church this summer. Three people made the decision to publicly confess Jesus as their Saviour through baptism. Most exciting for us? One of them was our df girl!
It was a lovely day, as we gathered on the beach this particular Sunday. After a short talk about the meaning of baptism, the three to be baptized waded into the ocean along with My Love and another local pastor.
We prayed for each one following the baptism, that they would go forward with a fresh desire to love Him, to serve Him, to live for Him.
We celebrated with some music (thanks to our Northern boy), testimonies and, of course, food and fellowship.
It was a wonderful day of praising our Lord together, thanking Him for His precious gift of salvation.
You may be curious as to the whole point of baptism. I’ll share some thoughts on this ordinance for those of you who are unfamiliar with Believer’s baptism.
What is Believer’s Baptism?
:: It is a command.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
:: It is for Christians.
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” (Acts 2:41)
:: It is an act of obedience.
It is a public declaration that one has received salvation through repentance and faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ. In Colossians 2:6-15, we see baptism following salvation. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
:: It is a symbol.
Baptism is a symbol of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and what this means for the Christian–the death and burial of our old life to walk as a new creation in Christ.
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What Believer’s Baptism is not:
:: It is not a requirement for salvation.
Salvation comes first, followed by the obedience of the Believer. The thief on the cross was not baptized; but Jesus, himself, told the believing thief, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
:: It does not cleanse our sin.
Only Jesus does that: “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) And “not by works of righteousness which we have done [not even obedience in baptism], but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5)
:: It is not a prerequisite for membership in the Church, the body of Christ.
Acts 2:47 tells us that those who believe are immediately part of the Church. “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Do you belong to Him? If so, have you been baptized? If not, may I encourage you to take care of it? Follow the example of the Ethiopian eunuch as he responded to Phillip, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”