What a joy it is every year to celebrate baptism with the body of believers at New Life. I always enjoy listening to each one as they give their testimony of faith. Each has a different story and they all have one important common denominator, they love the Lord, and have totally surrendered to Him as Lord and Savior of their life.
As we look to Scripture, we understand that our Lord commanded us to celebrate baptism and the Lord’s Supper. At New Life we take this seriously with an obedient heart.
The New Testament tells us that only those who give a sincere profession of faith should be baptized. This view is often called “believers’ baptism”, since it holds that only those who have come to a saving faith relationship in Christ should be baptized. At New Life, we believe that baptism is appropriately administered only to those who give a sincere profession of faith in Jesus Christ. The New Testament shows us that baptism was given by totally going under water and then brought back up again, known as immersion.
Baptism by immersion symbolizes our union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. Read what Paul tells us in Romans 6:3-4; 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, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Paul reinforces this point in Colossians 2:12; you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
When a person goes down into the water it is a picture of going down into the grave and being buried. Coming up out of the water is then a picture of being raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. Baptism clearly pictures death to one’s old way of life and raising to a new kind of life in Christ.
Baptism is necessary if we are to be obedient to Christ, for he commanded baptism to all who believe in him. Our salvation takes place when we come to saving faith in Christ alone. Baptism then follows as an obedient act.
The Bible is clear that when we put our faith in Christ alone for salvation, at that point we are given a new heart (2 Corinthians 5:17) also known as spiritual baptism. 1 Corinthians 12:13 tells us; For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, We receive the indwelling Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, and baptized into the body of Christ, His church. Incredibly, the body of every true Christian is actually a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Water baptism then symbolizes our spiritual baptism.
Baptism is a blessing to us and gives us great joy that comes from publically professing our faith. It gives us assurance of having a clear physical picture of dying and rising with Christ and of washing away sins. Certainly the Lord gave us baptism to strengthen and encourage our faith and it should do so for everyone who is baptized and for every believer who witnesses a baptism. Let us give Christ all of the glory!
You’re Brother in Christ, Jim Nelson