Baptism vital declaration of active participation in Gospel

In some ways, baptism separates the spectators from the participants in the Gospel story.

Those who are baptized have chosen to become active participants in the Gospel as they say yes to the invitation to know and follow Jesus Christ. They have said yes to baptism as a step of obedience to Christ. In some ways, baptism reveals the separation between those who stand on the sidelines only knowing about God and those who have chosen to step across the line by entering into a relationship with him on a personal level.

Baptism is a sacred vow of the believer to follow Christ. There are some distinct similarities to a marriage relationship. According to Romans 6:3, we “become part of Christ when we are baptized.” We are choosing to align our lives with that of Jesus Christ. We are uniting with him and committing ourselves to love and obey him all the days of our lives.

In baptism, we are participating symbolically in the death of our old sinful self, a burial, and a resurrection to new life as it is found only in Jesus Christ.

That’s why we encourage immersion as the preferred method of baptism. In immersion all three symbols are present: death, burial and resurrection. If you have never been baptized, and you profess Christ as your Savior, I hope you will give the matter serious and prayerful consideration.

Baptism is not something to be taken lightly. You don’t have to know the Bible from cover to cover to be baptized. You don’t have to understand everything. You don’t have to have all of the answers. You don’t have to be perfect. The two primary qualities needed for baptism are faith and obedience.

We see one example after another of people coming to faith and following it up with an immediate response of obedience in the book of the Acts (Acts 2:36, 41, 8:35, 36, 38, and 16:29-33).

We need to remember that baptism has no power, in and of itself, to save anyone. Scripture is abundantly clear salvation is found in Christ alone. Baptism is an important declaration of faith as you publicly identify with the One who saves you.

Baptism also is a step of obedience in what we hope will be a lifetime of obedience. Apart from the cross of Jesus Christ, baptism has no significance. But if baptism is important enough for Jesus to model it and command it, don’t you think it is important enough for us to obey?

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.