Jesus said He wanted everyone who had received His love and mercy to come to Him in the act of worship called baptism. Upon profession of our faith, upon recognizing that God, apart from our deserving it, saved us from ourselves and death for eternity, he invites us to stand in front of a group of people and be baptized.
You might think how odd it is that one of the things we do as believers to declare our allegiance is rather bizarre. A guy stands in the water next to another person and dunks them under the water. And then they lift him back up again in the presence of a lot of people. It seems odd. Well, it is kind of strange, and it is kind of humiliating. It was designed to be that way by Jesus himself.
Why should we be baptized?
Matthew 10: 32-33 says, “Therefore, whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
The Lord commands Water Baptism.
Matthew 28: 19-20 says, “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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
Water Baptism demonstrates that we are obedient.
Acts 18:8 says, “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.”
Water baptism is like wearing a wedding ring. It is a sign to the world that a transaction and commitment has taken place in your life. When I wear my wedding ring, it is a sign to those around me that I am married and committed to one woman for the rest of my life. It says to those around me that I am not available to another female other than my wife. So, it is with water baptism. It says we are committed to Jesus and are not open to becoming involved with another Lord other than Jesus! Today, we know that just because many who wear a wedding ring have not been faithful, it has injured its testimony, and this is true for those who have been baptized and have not lived out their faith and who have not been faithful!
What is the meaning of water baptism?
It is a symbol: Colossians 2:12, “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (see also Romans 6:4-12).
It is a sacrament: being baptized in water is an outward sign of an inward change. We acknowledge that we have been delivered from sin’s bondage, and we believe God’s promise to forgive us and transform us into a new creation (person).
Colossians 3: 8-10 says, “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”
It is a seal: like the official seal on a legal document because without the seal, the document is put into question because it was not certified.
In the time of Jesus, the Roman use of the word seal was a personal sign of the owner or sender of something important, and so as in a letter, the seal gives it a mark that set it apart as more important than an ordinary letter. It was also a guarantee that whatever was inside was intact until the receiver opened the package or letter, so with believers, we are given a seal, a mark that sets us apart, and it will be opened on the day of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. This is the earnest money, part of the price paid in advance as a down payment in a business situation. It is the first installment that guarantees full possession when the whole is paid later. The Holy Spirit is our pledge from the Lord of our future joy and fulfillment in heaven.
When I was applying for my passport, they required a certificate of live birth. A certificate or copy would not do. It needed the raised seal on it to prove I was a citizen of the USA. In the same way, our baptism in water is the visible raised seal of our faithfulness to God’s covenant. It is our commitment to His Word and His way of life. We state that we are submitted to Jesus’ Lordship over all our life.
It is a sign: this action communicates to those around us that something has happened in our lives. It is a public confession that we have repented of our sins, and by faith, we have accepted Jesus as Savior.
John 14:18-21 says, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day, you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
I am looking forward to celebrating water baptism with you!