Baptism is both a proclamation of what God has done and a commitment to Him. It is a time of celebration as we reflect on the new life that God has given us by the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. The one who confesses faith in Jesus makes a commitment, with God’s help, to love and obey Jesus, and the church comes alongside, formally welcoming the believer into the family of God and committing to helping their brother or sister to persevere in the faith, living faithfully to our Lord and Savior.
On July 23rd we at the Port Clyde Christian Church had the privilege of celebrating the baptism of Kevin and Lily.
Baptism in water is a visible act that pictures an invisible spiritual reality. I don’t like the language of an outer act to symbolize an inward reality, for that seems to make one more subjective than the other, or even private. And the spiritual reality that is visibly portrayed in water baptism is not private for it involves the family of God, nor is it subjective as if there is no evidence for it other than our ritual. Similarly, I don’t want to say that one is physical and the other spiritual, as if spiritual realities are disconnected from physical realities. Rather our union with Christ through faith is not directly apprehended by our sense of sight, but as a means of grace, as an aid to faith, water baptism represents to our sight our very real invisible union with Jesus.
Paul talks about the reality of our union with Christ in Romans 6. Through faith we have become united to Christ, and so we share in the reality of His death and resurrection. By virtue of His death we die to sin, being freed from its domination. By virtue of His resurrection we are raised to newness of life. When we believe in Jesus we receive new life, we are transformed. To put into practice this new life we have through union with Christ takes time. The process by which we become who we are in Christ is called sanctification. So it doesn’t happen overnight, it is a life-long pursuit. But those who believe in Jesus, though we struggle, will make progress in becoming like Jesus. More and more we will love like Him, forgive like Him, and serve like Him.
Jesus Christ is both Savior and Lord. He saves us from sin and death by His death and resurrection. And as Lord he commands us in the way to live, how to think and how to act. When we live as Jesus commands we are blessed, we are a blessing to others, and God is glorified.
Baptism does not make anyone a Christian. Peter makes this clear in 1 Peter 3. It is not our getting in the water that washes away our sin, it is Jesus’ death and resurrection that through our faith results in our salvation. So turn away from sin and believe in Jesus and you will have eternal life! Then follow your Lord and Savior Jesus, obeying His commands. Begin by following the Lord in baptism, like Kevin and Lily. Praise the Lord!