Baptism can be confusing.
That’s totally understandable. It’s not easy to understand the significance of being immersed in water after becoming a Christian. Much of the confusion centers on questions like, “I was sprinkled as a child, so I don’t have to be baptized, right?” Or, “If I don’t get baptized does that mean I’m not saved?”
New Testament believers, following Jesus’ example, were baptized as a public declaration of their new commitment and new life in him. Baptism is an act of obedience and a public declaration of faith. When Jesus was ready to begin his earthly ministry, he showed his devotion and obedience to the Father by being baptized:
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
Later, the apostles taught that all who accept the message of Jesus Christ and invite him into their lives should follow his example of baptism:
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins….” Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day – about 3,000 in all.
Acts 2:38, 41
Baptism represents two essential truths of your faith:
- What Jesus did for you: “He died for your sins, was buried and came back to life” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
- What has happened to you: “You died to your old life, are buried in baptism and raised to live a new life in Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:3-4).
Baptism doesn’t save you. That was done the moment that you believed in your heart that Jesus is Lord and professed that belief by asking Him to come into your life and forgive you of your sin. Baptism is a step of obedience – an outward symbol of the work that God has done inside of you.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
Getting baptized is like putting on the jersey of your favorite sports team.
You are putting aside the jersey of your old team and putting on your Team Jesus jersey. It’s telling the world that you have joined Jesus’ team, that he is your coach and you are following his game plan for life. You are now on a winning team and have been raised to walk in newness of life!
That’s definitely something to celebrate!