Baptism is more than an important act of obedience, it is a symbolic rebirth and a public acknowledgment of one’s faith in Jesus Christ. It is also a biblical requirement to one’s salvation. According to scripture, to be saved believers must be baptized. These are the words of Jesus Christ:
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)
“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3:5)
In this last verse Jesus is speaking of baptism in water mentioned several times in the bible (see Acts 10:43-47). However water baptism should only be regarded as one step of obedience along the long walk toward God’s eternal kingdom.
The first and most important step involves accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-14)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
“Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)
Though not necessary for one’s salvation, baptism can greatly contribute to a believer’s commitment to the Christian faith. It is considered the first sign of obedience and an important part of a believer’s pilgrimage toward heaven. Water baptism is basically the standard method by which new believers express their conversion to Christianity.
The apostle Paul wrote about the water baptism process believers go through as we allow ourselves to be immersed in Jesus’ blood:
“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4).
By “baptized into His death” and “buried with Him through baptism into death” Paul symbolized the submerging of our entire bodies in water. Then as we are raised back above the water line, we are then “raised from the dead”.
While water baptism denotes one’s obedience toward God almighty, it cannot be a reflection of complete obedience. A symbolic act more than a way of life, water baptism is only a step part of a challenging journey. Much like a wedding band on a man’s finger does not necessarily make him a faithful husband, baptism doesn’t mean anything unless is accompanied by faith in Jesus Christ and followed by a spiritual growth through works that are pleasing to God.
God knows our hearts and sees what motivates people to be baptized. He is not fooled by spiritual gold diggers, those who only seek His eternal rewards in heaven.
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad’ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7)
It is important to remember both in the Old and New Testaments clearly affirm that salvation can be achieved by God’s grace through faith alone. For example, Abraham, David, Moses, Daniel and a host of Old Testament people were never baptized and yet are heroes of the faith, heirs of God’s salvation.
Even though he dies without being baptized, the thief who repented upon his last hour when crucified next to Jesus was promised eternal life.
“And [the thief] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And [Jesus] said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43 )
Are you a believer? Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Have you been baptized by full immersion? If you have not already sealed your covenant with God through water baptism, I invite you to do so as soon as you can. Water baptisms are performed almost every month here in St Petersburg, we would love to share this enlightening moment with you. Feel free to contact us for details how you too can die and be reborn through faith in Jesus Christ.
If you know someone who believes but has not been baptized in water, you are called to remind them of this genuine act of obedience as well as use the power of prayer to lead them into God’s waters.
We thank you for all that surrounds us and for your love.
We ask that you will inspire us to Pray in your name
And give us patience to wait for Answers
Or guide us to look for Answers in your Word the Bible.
Lord we thank you for your son Jesus Christ
And for sending Him to live and die for us,
Then be raised from the dead
As we can be through faith.
God we pray you will give us strength in difficult times
And bless us with your light on cloud covered days
Inspiring us to seek you and rejoice with you in prayer.
Please Lord forgive our sins as only you can
And lay before us your path for our lives
So that we may follow in your footsteps.
Thank you all mighty God for all that you make possible
Today and forever!
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre