What is Baptism?
After accepting Christ during a VBS program I knew what my next step had to be. Baptism was an important part of the faith at our small town local baptist church. I had seen other members of our church step out in faith in such a way and I was ready to do the same.
So one Sunday I proudly marched into church and got dunked. Without even knowing it, I entered the baptismal that morning with an extra-biblical view of baptism that caused me to fall away from the church for a season.
What Baptism Isn't
The lied I had slowly began to believe was that baptism was going to, somehow, change me. I had entered the tank Scott v.1 and was fulling expecting to rise up out of the water Scott v.2 (this transformed super-Christian). But nothing happened. I was still the sinful, rebellious, & broken individual that had entered the waters just moments before.
Unfortunately this view of baptism as a necessary work to somehow earn our salvation isn't that far out of the ordinary for a lot of people. We've overemphasized and/or underemphasized the importance of baptism which has led to a lot of misbelief and confusion on the topic.
So let's set the record straight.
A Symbolic Celebration
Baptism isn't magical. It's not our ticket to the Kingdom and it certainly doesn't cleanse us of sin. Baptism is an external, symbolic celebration of an individual's decision to follow Jesus. It's a way for people who've been impacted with the gospel of Christ to publicly declare: I'm following Jesus!
Through baptism the church is able to witness as an individual makes a public decision to follow Jesus. That person dies to their sin, is buried (in a tomb of water), and is made alive in Christ!
What a joy to witness such a powerful representation of the gospel!
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." -Romans 5:3-4