This Sunday 9th December, we will be having a baptism service here at BCEC. There will be six people getting baptised, so it will be an exciting time. And last Sunday Bert and I were privileged to interview (though really it was more of an informal chat) with all six of those candidates. And boy are we in for treat, with testimonies galore!
While it’s always great to hear testimonies (who doesn’t love a good story?), baptism is more than just that. During the interview we asked a question “Why do you want to get baptised?” and each one answered with various solid reasons, both personal and scriptural.
However, asking “Why do you want to get baptised?” often uncovers common misconceptions. Things I’ve heard in the past include: to become saved; it means I’m a Christian; it means I’ll receive God’s grace; it will protect me from going to hell and ensure I have a place in heaven. Other times people do it to join a denomination, get married in a certain church, or as a requirement church membership.
But as Peter says in Acts 2:38, baptism must be preceded by repentance. From Mark 16:16 we know that belief is necessary for being saved, which should come prior to baptism. So in other words, baptism is a result of believing and being saved. You can be a Christian before being baptised; you are still saved regardless. God has already given his salvation on the sole condition of faith and repentance.
So, why then should we get baptised if it doesn’t matter–we’re already saved?
Well first of all, the Bible tells us to get baptised after we believe. In fact, Jesus commanded in the Great Commission to go and make disciples and to baptise in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them all that Jesus has commanded us (emphasis added). So baptism is part of our commission as Christians.
But baptism is also a declaration of the union we have with Christ through his death and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4 says,
“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.”
This means the act of baptism represents how we are buried to our old selves and then raised with Christ. Being baptised is a symbol. Getting dunked in a pool of regular water (and probably cold water at all) doesn’t save you. Jesus saves you. But baptism is a declaration to the world: it says I’m with Christ, and I’m willing to publicly follow him.
Come join us this Sunday to witness this joyous occasion as six believers share their journies of faith and as they take a plunge for Christ.