Perhaps you are someone who is contemplating baptism. Can baptism save me from sin? Is baptism a quick fix to my past sins? Or is it a religious ritual that is passed on to us from our parents? There may be questions in that nature in your heart. You may be looking for some good answers. Especially if you are a Christian, and you are serious about your walk with God, you need Biblical answers.
Precisely, a baptism service is a burial service for the old man who is dead to sin. Once a person dies, we want to bury the body because we do not leave the dead body to just lie there. We make sure we get rid of the body by burying it. In the same way, when the old creation dies, we get the stinking old creation into the waters of baptism. Baptism is a ‘must’ when we are dead to sin. Through that burial, we plant our old self and we are resurrected into the newness of life.
Baptism literally means immersion. In the process of baptism, three things are noticed.
1. You go into the water: That means the old man was crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6).
2. You go under the water: That means total burial so that the stench of the dead body
is removed totally (Col 2:12).
3. You come out of the water: That means we are raised with Christ into the newness of
Life (Rom 6: 5).
Baptism in the Old Testament:
The lives of children of Israel were spared because of the blood of the lamb. God took them through the Red Sea and separated them from the past slavery and bondage. God delivered them from the clutches of the enemy. Pharaoh was not able to follow them. In the same way, the enemy, Satan has to give up on you. The old habits and evil practices will have to be separated from you. You are free and liberated from the evil. Hallelujah!
The Bible declares, ‘ I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea’ (1Cor 10:1,2).
The point of the matter is, God wants to totally deliver His children from any kind of bondage in the past. May be it is an addiction or a bad habit or simply a guilt. Every sin and shame is completely drowned in the waters of baptism. Praise God!
Baptism in the New Testament:
Baptism is not a mere religious ritual. Baptism is not an eligibility to take part in the Lord’s table. Baptism is not connected to any denomination or a group. There is nothing in the Bible called ‘child baptism’. You do not see anyone giving baptism to a baby in the Bible. They dedicated the children. But baptism is for a ‘blood washed believer’. Baptism is for a ‘forgiven sinner’. We got to be clear about this.
Two important things are proved in water baptism
When we are baptized, we identify our past sinful life with Christ’s death. The Bible says,
‘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 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’ (Rom 6:2-8).
Baptism is the only way you and I can identify our selves with Christ in His burial and His resurrection. In baptism, we plant to old man and live in the newness of life. Since we are dead to sin, sin should not have dominion over us any longer. We publicly declare through this act that we are crucified with Christ, we are buried with Him and we are raised with Him. You identify with CHRIST.
Jesus said, ‘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’ (Matt 28:19-20). Jesus commanded the disciples to teach the word of God and make disciples and commanded them to baptize. Every time we disobey the commandment of God, we miss out on the blessings of God. This is one of the last things Jesus was talking about when He walked the face of this earth. I am sure he attached a lot of importance to that.
Baptism is not a choice for a Christian, but it is a ‘must’. Jesus said, ‘If you love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). Baptism is a commandment.
While preaching to Cornelius’ household, Paul said,’ Can anyone forbid water that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have’ (Acts 10:47-48). The Bible says, ‘Paul commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord’ (Acts 10:48). Paul did not ‘suggest’ but ‘commanded’.
May the Lord help us to obey Him and ‘be baptized in water’. Amen.