Baptism: Commanded, Not Suggested
“Baptism earns your salvation.” “You are baptized when you join a church denomination.” “Isn’t baptism something churches do for babies?” Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. These are some of the most prevalent misconceptions entertained about baptism. So what is baptism really about? What does it mean for Christians?
Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. God commands all believers to be baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”(NIV, Matthew 28:19). To ignore God’s command of baptism is to live in disobedience. Baptism is one of two sacraments instituted by our Lord. The second sacrament He directed us to observe is communion. Both baptism and communion signify Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:1-11 reveals the purpose and value of baptism:
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Baptism is an act of obedience. It is a conscious choice to be made as a Christian. Because baptism is a conscious choice, baptizing infants is not a biblical practice. Infants are not appropriate candidates for baptism, as they are not of an age to make voluntary decisions. Baptism is independent of and cannot procure salvation. Salvation is an entirely different process, hinging on acknowledgement and repentance, as Romans 10:9 states “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Baptism is choice to be made and a command to be kept. Jesus, himself, set the example for us when He was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17). So let us follow His example and live out our faith in our application of baptism. Reliance will be having a baptism on February 26th at 2:30 pm, at the Calvary Chapel Conference Center. If you’d like to be baptized, sign up at the Connection Center on Sunday. The event is open to everyone, so come to support those who have decided to be baptized!