Why bother with baptism?
This Sunday night and next Sunday morning we will be having two baptism services. What a joy!
But why should someone who has decided to follow Jesus get baptized?
1. Because Jesus commanded it (Matt 28:19). That would be reason enough. But there are others as well.
2. Because Jesus was baptized (Luke 3:21) and we are to emulate and follow Him (1 Cor 10:33; 1 Peter 2:21).
3. Because the apostles were baptized, and in as much as they follow Jesus we are to follow them (Acts 9:18; 1 Cor 10:33).
4. Because the apostles taught that we should repent and be baptized – and that’s exactly what they practiced (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:38; Acts 16:33).
5. Because baptism demonstrates some incredible truths about what has happened in a believer’s life:
a. Baptism is a vivid portrayal of our death, burial and our being raised to new life with Jesus (Romans 6:1-4). As a result it demonstrates that we have died to the power of sin over us.
b. It shows that we are members of God’s covenant people. As circumcision was a sign of being a member of God’s covenant people under the old covenant, so baptism is the indication that we have joined God’s new covenant people - his church (Col 2:11-12).
c. Just as circumcision was a cutting off of physical flesh, so baptism is the symbol that our ‘flesh’ – our sinful nature – has been cut off by Jesus’ death on our behalf: as a result we ‘who were dead in [our] trespasses and the uncircumcision of [our] flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.’ (Col 2:11-15).
d. That just as Noah was rescued out of, and cut off from a sinful world by the waters of the flood, so baptism is the demonstration that we have been rescued and cut off from the world (1 Peter 3:18-22).
So, to summarize, why should we be baptized? Because we want to obey and follow Jesus, and keep in step with the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). Because we want to publically declare and live in the good of all that Jesus has done for us and that baptism demonstrates: dead to our old life of sin; cut off from the world, the flesh and the devil; new resurrection life in Jesus; a member of God’s covenant people, the church. Those are wonderful truths to proclaim in baptism!
So if you’re a Christian and you haven’t been baptized, don’t you think you should be?