The Word on Baptism
When we look at water baptism in the New Testament what do we see? What makes baptism such an important part of our beliefs? Who should be baptized?
Let’s start by looking at the last words of Jesus to His disciples in Matthew 28. In verse 19 Jesus gives us the command to be baptized…”Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” So what we very simply learn from this passage is baptism is a command to believers. Baptism follows belief.
The scriptures teach that baptism is an act of obedience, an outward declaration of an inward identification. We see this in Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3 and the Apostle Paul’s baptism in Acts 9. Jesus modeled baptism for us. He who scripture say “knew or had no sin” was baptized. Jesus never sinned so His baptism teaches us that baptism isn’t for the forgiveness of sins, but an outward declaration of an inward identification that He and the Father were one and He came to do the will of the Father. The Apostle Paul, after his experience of encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, being blind and not having eaten or drank anything for 3 days when he receives his sight back, his first response is to be baptized. As an outward declaration of his new identity in Christ. One more example to just solidify this truth. In Acts 19 Paul meets a couple of John the Baptist’s disciples. They are still identifying with John and Paul tells them John preached repentance of sin and “telling people to believe in the one was to come after him that is, Jesus.” We see their response in the next verse…”On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. An outward declaration of their new identification with Christ.
Another thing we see from the Word is that baptism is an illustration of:
- being washed or cleansed of sin
- being buried or dying to self and sin
- being raised to walk in newness of life
Romans 6 and Acts 22:16 brings theses illustrations to light. Looking at Ananias’ question to Saul (soon to be Paul) “And now why do you wait?” If you have placed your faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and have never been baptized, never made an outward declaration of your inward identification with Christ I pose the same question to you “and now why do you wait?” Come be baptized on Sunday May 15. Let us know here that you want to be baptized and we can get you more information and answer any questions you might have.