Today, our church witnessed the baptism of one of our regular attendees. He submitted himself to Christ by becoming part of the local church. He will be formally accepted on Sunday once he commits himself to the LORD and His church through the membership covenant. Here are the notes from our pastor’s message which can help us the essence and reason for Baptism.
Baptism is the Christian’s coming out celebration when his faith goes public. He is now a slave of Christ and he identifies Himself with Christ.
The Nature of Salvation
First, there is something to acknowledge. An acknowledgment of one’s sinfulness and guilt. His inability to save himself from the slavery of sin. He should also acknowledge his desperate need for a Savior. The requirement of perfect righteousness and sacrifice is too high for one soul to fulfill on his own. It must come from outside oneself.
Second, there is something to believe. One must believe that Jesus Christ alone is the Savior, truly God and truly man, who is powerful to save, and able to stand on behalf of sinful man as a man. Christ is able to save to the uttermost.
Third, there is something to consider. We must count the cost of following Christ (Matthew 7: There is an element of denying oneself, taking up one’s cross daily, and following Christ.
To fight against God and His Christ is vanity (Psalm 2). Jesus Christ is the Superior King. None who contends against the Almighty can triumph! Blessed is the man who cast his weapon of warfare against the LORD and surrender to Him.
Fourth, there is something to do. There is an element of doing. One must personally repent of his sin and come to Christ in the way of faith.
The New Testament teaches that our personal commitment to the LORD must be demonstrated publicly. Salvation is a covenantal union with the LORD, and none who commits to this covenant with be ashamed to stand and demonstrate His faith publicly (Mt 28:19).
The Essence of Baptism
What Baptism is not?
It is not saving. It is not the washing away of one’s sin by water. None can be saved by works, including water baptism. Eph 2:8-9, Rom 1:17, Rom 3:25. The cleansing of one’s sin is not performed in baptism but only pictured or illustrated.
It is not insignificant. This is an overreaction to baptismal regeneration. The NT assumed that believers are baptized. The early church believers demonstrated their union with Christ through baptism (Gal 3:26-27, Rom 6:1, Col 2:11-12).
What Baptism is?
It is a public picture of salvation and union with Christ. Rom 6:1-5. The baptized person declares that he possessed the glorious salvation in Christ.
According to the Baptist Catechism (1695 edition), Question #97, answers the question, "What is baptism?" Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament instituted by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death, burial, and resurrection; of his being ingrafted into him;¹ of remission of sins;² and of his giving up himself unto God through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.³
¹ Romans 6:3–5; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27
² Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38, 22:16
³ Romans 6:3-4
To be a member of the New Covenant is through spiritual regeneration. It is a public covenantal ceremony. It is a prerequisite to the covenantal meal.
The Reason for Baptism
It is commanded by God (Mt 28:19). Baptism is not an option but an obligation. Since Jesus is our Savior, we want to obey Him.
It is practiced by the NT Church (Acts 2:37-41, 8:12). Acts 11:14 precludes infant baptism since it necessitates that the Word must be heard to be saved. Infants can’t actively hear the Word preached. This is similar to Acts 16:33-34 since the jailor believed together with his household. Lastly, in Acts 19:5, they heard, believed, and confessed the good news, and were baptized.
Have you been converted? There is no such thing as a secret disciple of Christ. You must come out and celebrate your salvation publicly and be with the people of God.
An unbaptized Christian is a walking contradiction and impossibility.
You can’t help it but stand up for Christ who freed you from the slavery of sin and saved you from the wrath of God.
To God be the glory!