In the church, we often stop to celebrate this things called Baptism. We know the ritual of it. Someone gets in the tank, someone else dunks them under the water and then they get out. In terms of getting someone clean, we’ve all seen cats do a better job washing themselves. So, what’s the big deal? Why should I get baptized?
First, what is baptism? Baptism is a proclamation of our faith to those closest to us. We are telling the people around us that we are now going to be dedicating our lives to following Jesus Christ as one of His disciples.
But, it’s more than that. It’s not just a public proclamation, it’s also an outward expression of an inner transformation.
That doesn’t mean that we have become perfect and now we will no longer make mistakes. What it means is that we have handed over the control of our heart to the Spirit of Jesus Christ and we are no in the process of learning to follow Him and His ways as we shake off the ways of the world.
It’s a symbol. Nothing magical or mystical happens when someone is dunked in a tank of lukewarm water. But, it symbolizes the work Christ did for us and our acceptance of that work.
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
Baptism tells the story of the Gospel of Jesus and how it has affected our lives. When we confess our sins, believe in the work Jesus did on the cross for us and commit our lives to following him, our old self, the sinful self (and the consequences of that sinful life) has been buried with Christ in the death that he died. And just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too have a new life through the power of His resurrection.
Buried with him through baptism. Raised to new life in Christ.
That’s the big deal. That’s why it’s a celebration. Because it’s looking at our transformation and realizing that we have no power in and of ourselves to be able to achieve this transformation. It is only through this miraculous gift that we can receive God’s free gift of eternal life.
So, who should be baptized? Anyone who has put their faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation instead of themselves. If you haven’t been baptized and you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, then you should be baptized.
“But I’m not ready?” Ok, maybe you’re not quite ready, but let me as you this: why? Is it because you still want to maintain control of your heart and life and you’re worried if you go through with baptism, you’ll be giving that up?
Isn’t that kind of the point? Strike that. It’s not kind of the point. It is THE point. We are dead to our own ambitions. We now carry the cross God asks us to carry of being his Disciple and being transformed into His likeness.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
So, are you ready to take that step? Then, this Sunday at SixEight Church, you can have that opportunity. Come and be baptized. Bring your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and your bus driver. Go public with your faith.