This may be the post that sinks me. But here goes nothing. (Ha! I didn’t get the pun until my 3rd read through.)
I’ve been in the Christian community for 22 years. I have had vast range of religious teaching from state university to strict Bible college. I have had a vast range of fellowship and worship experiences from Purtian-esque to Charismatic to monastic. I have assembled with Christians in different countries, cultures and languages. There are pieces from all those experiences that have illuminated my walk with the Lord. But in those experiences I have found a problem.
There is one giant, biblical truth that is overlooked, explained away, misinterpreted and flat-out denied.
If you have any religious anything, you probably come to the discussion table with some preconceived ideas. Try to put those on the shelf for a moment. Examine what you’ve been told, what you’ve heard and even what you believe to be true.
It’s amazing that we have the great privilege of having the Word of God at our fingertips. The early Christians in Berea lived this privilege to the fullest and used the Scriptures every day to examine and verify what they were being taught.
And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11
So let’s me and you, ordinary Christian gals of the 21st century, examine and verify what we are being taught! Let’s see what the bible say about baptism. Is it important? Does it save us? Should I do it?
Baptism is all over the Bible. The New Testament starts off with the baptism of John. Old Testament foreshadows it with rocks stars like Noah and Moses.
Vine’s defines baptism from the Greek word baptisma.
“baptism,” consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence (from bapto, “to dip”)
We are talking about water baptism, being dipped down into water (John 3:23, Acts 8:38).
Jesus’ ministry is book-ended with baptism. He began with his baptism by John (Luke 3:21). Three years later, his final words to his disciples, as he closed his ministry, commended them to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19).
Baptism was important to Jesus.
After the ascension of Jesus (Luke 24 & Acts 1), the Holy Spirit comes. In the middle of riotous mob, Peter is the first apostle called to preach the first gospel message.
Peter breaks it down. They had been waiting for a Messiah. He came. They denied him. They killed him. (Acts 2:14-36).
Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Later in Acts 10:48 Peter orders baptism to Cornelius and his household.
So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 10:48
Baptism was important to Peter.
Paul writes to the church in Rome much later with a similar message in Romans 6.
Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.
Paul teaches here that baptism:
- Joins us with Jesus
- Joins us with his death
- Kills our sinful self
- Raises us to new life
- Gives power over sin
Baptism was important to Paul.
The early letters that circulated among the first churches say:
Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 1 Cor 12:13
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. Col. 2:12
For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. Eph. 4:4-6
You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. Heb. 6:2
Baptism was important to the first Christians.
Ok, so it’s important but does it save you?
Should I do it?
What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16