When you choose to make a commitment to marry someone you love, it is typically not long until you want to go public with that decision.
More than 30 years ago, I decided to marry the girl of my dreams. Once we were engaged, we both wanted to tell all of our friends. I am sure we would have been glad to text, tweet or post our commitment to social media, but there was no such thing back then.
When you enter into a relationship that you are excited about, you want the world to know. Christian Baptism is a public declaration of faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s one thing to say, in the privacy of your own heart, that you’re a sinner in need of a savior.
It’s quite another to walk out of the shadows and stand up publicly to declare that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
When it comes to baptism, people sometimes tend to lean toward one of two extremes. Either they see baptism as an act of ultimate importance or they perceive it as of little or no importance at all.
One person says, “I am saved because I was baptized.”
The other says, “I am saved, so I don’t need to be baptized.” The challenge is to come to a biblical understanding about baptism, which actually lands between these two extremes.
There is no saving merit in water baptism. Salvation is found only in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. But once a person admits personal sin and turns to Christ for salvation, baptism is a step of obedience that we take to proclaim to the world that we are now a follower of Jesus Christ.
Some speculate that this step is so important that, with the exception of the thief on the cross, every single convert in the New Testament was baptized.
The only New Testament convert that we know was not baptized was that thief on the cross.
Isn’t it interesting that the first person to respond to the crucified Christ was a person who had no creed to recite, no pledge to make and no doctrine to agree with?
He was just a common criminal who caught a glimpse of who Jesus is and he believed. As far as we know, this guy never went to church, never gave an offering and was never baptized. He just said one prayer. But that prayer was enough. His story reminds us of the simplicity of the Gospel. More next time.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.