As we continue our look at baptism we now dive into the evidence we see to get baptized and why we should do it.
The first and most convincing evidence is not only does Jesus desire for us to do it (Matthew 28:19), but He was baptized. In the opening verses of the Gospel of Mark we read that “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” (Mark 1:9) A Christian is defined as a being a “Christ-follower”. This means that we should follow Him in all things including the waters of baptism if for nothing else that He did it! However, there is more to baptism than just following Jesus’ bandwagon.
Secondly, we see that when someone accepts Christ as their Savior, whenever possible, they are baptized. As we continue in the story in Acts 16 we see what the response is by the jailer. “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.” – Acts 16:32-33 (emphasis mine). We see that upon hearing the Gospel and accepting Jesus there was action placed to their faith. This passage indicates that inspiration is followed by declaration which is demonstrated in public dedication. That public dedication is baptism.
Now although this seems to be the desired order of acceptance of Christ as a Believer we don’t see baptism being prohibitive in coming to faith. As I said before, baptism is not a matter of salvation. There are times where baptism isn’t possible as in the case of the confessions of the dying in hospitals, people in prison, and so forth. We see several examples of this in Scripture, but none more convincing than the thief on the cross.
As this vile man hangs bloody, naked, and suffocating on a cross next to our Lord we see his broken spirit confess to Jesus. “Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23:42-43 (emphasis mine). Jesus says that in that moment he was saved. Not after they pushed pause on the crucifixion, ripped him down, found a river, dunked him, nailed him back up, and then finished his execution. Nope. Jesus says TODAY you will be with me when this life ends.
So you may still be asking “then why do it? If it’s not a “requirement” for my salvation what’s the point?”
I’m glad you asked.
I believe baptism is where we begin to put our spiritual money where our mouth is to use modern terms. Baptism is the public display of our inward faith where we corporately declare ourself property of Someone else and choose to follow Him the rest of our days.
Through baptism we symbolize the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus by being buried with Christ (submersion in water), dying to our sin and being washed clean (the water covering our body), and then raising to walk in the new life with Jesus (raising up out of the water). Baptism allows us to publically declare and accept Christ’s gift of Grace and walk forward on His path in obedience to Him.
Baptism should never be a point of division amongst believers, but rather something we celebrate together when a person steps forward in faith to declare their love and allegiance to Christ.
Listen, I believe that if you are a Believer of Christ you should be baptized. If Jesus can die alone, naked, bloody, on a cross for our sins I think the least we can do is publicly declare our faith in Him through baptism. Additionally, I think baptism is a critical step in yours and mine discipleship, dedication, and pursuit of Christ in our lives.
In submission to our Savior we submerge ourself in baptism.
So if you are reading this and have not yet been baptized you should pick up the phone, call your pastor, and schedule a time to get “bathtized”. Don’t wait another minute to publicly declare your faith to Christ and let that moment propel you into a even deeper love and pursuit of Him.
THE SPIRITUAL SHORT:
Why Do I Need To Get Baptized?: Baptism is a public declaration of your inward submission to Christ as Lord and Savior by which you promise to follow and love Him the rest of your life.