Baptism is, one of the most misunderstood doctrines of the Bible. Many would have you believe that baptism is a necessary part of salvation, others would try to convince you that it is totally unimportant.
Let us take a look at what the Bible has to say about the subject before we come to any conclusions on the matter of baptism.
I. Baptism is OBEDIENCE.
The very first step of obedience for a new Christian is that of baptism.
Matthew 28:19 tells us how the Lord carefully instructed His disciples to baptize those who had been taught the way of salvation.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”
In Acts 2:38, we find the Apostle Peter has been preaching; many desire to believe on the Lord for salvation. The Bible says: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized…”
In the Bible book of Acts, we find the story of a preacher named Philip who has been preaching to a
man of Ethiopia about Jesus. The man of Ethiopia believes on Jesus for salvation and asks Philip this question in Acts 8:36: “…See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?”
Even though this man of Ethiopia had just been saved, he recognized the importance of obedience in the matter of baptism. Baptism is not a part of salvation nor does it add to your salvation or make you “more saved”. It is simply an act of obedience to the Lord’s command for everyone who believes on Jesus for salvation.
II. Baptism is an OBSERVANCE.
In the Bible, we are taught that baptism is an illustration or observance of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 – Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 -Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
When a person is saved and as an act of obedience enters the waters of baptism, he or she is put under the water (immersed) for a brief moment to observe the similarity of baptism to the death and burial of the Lord; then, they are immediately brought up out of the water in observance of the Lord’s resurrection; this represents the new life that a believer now has in Jesus Christ.
This new life is described in 2nd Corinthians 5:17—”Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
III. Baptism is an OPPORTUNITY.
Many have defined baptism as an “outward expression of an inward change”. When a person puts faith in Christ for salvation, he will immediately desire to share his new-found faith with those around him. One of the most visible ways to do this is through obedience in baptism. Baptism lets everyone around you know that you are a new creation in Christ; your old life is gone and you are different now.
How wonderful to use this simple act of obedience as an opportunity to share your testimony of salvation with your friends and family!