I love baptism Sundays. I remember my baptism nearly 30 years ago and how the Lord has been my God and keeper. Baptism is one of two ordinances that we practice as a local church. The other is the Lord’s Supper. While we partake of the Lord’s Supper once a month, baptism is a unique event in the life of a believer.
Baptism is the act of being immersed under water as a symbol of having died to self and being raised up in newness of life. There are many wonderful things that are subtle about baptism that we often miss.
First, baptism is a work of grace. We don’t come to baptism deserving of it, nor do we baptize ourselves. The fact that someone else baptizes us reminds us that we are saved by grace alone and not by works (Gal. 2:16). We can’t save ourselves just like we can’t baptize ourselves.
Second, we are confessing the inner work of God with an outward demonstration of grace. We can’t see what goes on in someone’s heart. But baptism paints a picture of a life that has been crucified with Christ and no longer lives (Gal. 2:20). Our lives are hidden with God in Christ (Col. 3:3) just like we are buried in the waters of baptism (Gal. 3:27). And we are raised up with resurrection power to live a new life (Eph. 2:6). There is nothing magical or special about the water and there is nothing extraordinary about the one doing the baptism. The work of God’s grace is through ordinary means. God loves to use the ordinary to display his extraordinary work.
Third, in watching a baptism, I am reminded of my own baptism as a Christian. Just as a couple watching a bride and groom share their vows have their hearts stirred to live and love, in the same way, as someone else is immersed and raised in the water, I recall how I no longer live but Christ lives in me (Rom. 6:1-4). My desires ought to be stirred to live with the passion and commitment that I had at the time of my baptism.
Finally, baptism is an act of faith that appeals to God for a good conscience (1 Pe. 3:21). Others hear me renounce my sin and trust in Christ and affirm that, as best as a human can discern, God is at work. Others who have not yet trusted Christ may be stirred themselves to consider their eternity and come to Christ in repentance and faith.
Would you pray for those being baptized right now? Ask God to give them courage to share their testimony, affirmation of Christ’s perfect work for them, and joy in the Holy Spirit. And then plan to be here Sunday and celebrate that God is still doing a new creation work!
See you Sunday,