The meaning of baptism is very important to the Christian and his Christian life, for it is in the life of obedience that we see God’s purposes and desires. We need to keep in front of us the right and proper attitude in baptism.
We need to realize that baptism never saves us. There are many who say that if you are not baptized, you are not saved. In saying that, they have missed the point of the cross of Jesus Christ and it’s atoning power. As our Lord was hanging upon the cross between the two thieves, He said to the one, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” This shows the ability of God to save apart from baptism. (See Acts 10:44-48)
We need to realize that baptism is an act of obedience. As we are baptized, it is in response to what Christ has done for us. We must make our decision of death, that is, death to self, knowing that the resurrection is in the life and standards of Christ.
Baptism is not to add to what Christ had done, it is not to complete what Christ had done, nor is it to compete with what Christ had done. Rather, it is an external witness to those around us, and a witness to the world in which we live that there has been an internal work done by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the work of Christ. Thus, the key to the glory of baptism is that though it is a physical act, behind it lies a tremendous amount of spiritual types and symbols.
Romans 6:3-6 – “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized in His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Galatians 3:27 – “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Colossians 2:12-13 – “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him up from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”
Remember: Water baptism is a picture of what has already taken place in the hearts of God’s children.
The Doctrine of Baptism
1. The remission of sin – Acts 22:16
2. The regeneration or the new birth – Titus 3:5-6
3. Being engrafted into Christ – Galatians 3:27 and Romans 6:3-6
Who Can Receive Water Baptism?
Anyone who has professed Christ Jesus, repented for their sins, and is trusting and living by faith in the Son of God. First, behind the external baptism, there lies the true baptism which is that of the shed blood of Christ. Second, behind the external action, there lies the inward operation of the Spirit, moving us to live, move, and act in faith.
As we study the New Testament, the life of Christ, and what the apostles left as examples for us, we see that baptism is the full act of immersion. Nowhere in the New Testament do we find effusion (which is the act of pouring water upon your head); nor do we find aspersion (which is having water sprinkled on your head or face).
We do find that throughout the Holy Scriptures, the word “baptize” (in the Greek) means “to dip or to fully immerse” or, “immersion of the whole body.”
Thus, in keeping with the teaching of Christ and the New Testament pictures and types, we see in immersion (the surrounding of water) a metaphor of burial. As we go down under the water we are “burying” ourselves to sin and self. As we come up from the water, we are “resurrected” to the newness of life in Christ. We come up a new person in Jesus Christ!
As we are under water, we are aware of how helpless we are. But, as the arm of the one who is baptizing us brings us up, we learn a most precious lesson, it has to be a power and stregth outside myself to bring me up.
Thus, God brings me forth by His mighty arms into a new and holy life. Baptism is symbolic of the grave of the old man and the resurrection of the new. As we sink below the water, the believer buries there all his corrupt affection and past sins. As he emerges, he is regenerated, quickened into a new and living hope.
Further Scriptures Concerning Water Baptism
- Matthew 3:16-17 Christ’s baptism
- John 3:22 Jesus baptized
- Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus commands baptism
- Acts 2:38 First baptism (Christian)
- Acts 8:36-38 One must believe before baptism
- Acts 19:3-5 Need for proper baptism after
knowledge of what baptism is.
In each of the cases above, the person being baptized was a believer. Thus, we need to stress the importance of knowing the scriptural and spiritual basis of baptism. Without the ability to know or understand, water baptism would be a meaningless ritual.
It is our desire here at Calvary Chapel Whitefish that your lives would be blessed. We are looking forward to having you join us as we fulfill God’s Word in your lives. May our Lord continue to fill you with His LOVE and KNOWLEDGE as you walk with JESUS…