Some Thoughts on Baptism May 10, 2018

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I was baptized as a five-year old boy. I chose to be baptized to show that I had recently trusted Christ as my personal Savior. Now, in fact, I simply chose what Jesus had already chosen for me. 2,000 years ago He told His disciples that those who believed on Him should be baptized (Mark 16:16).

For this reason, when I was eighteen years old I went through a great crisis. Questions about my own faith arose, and, once I settled them, I chose to be baptized again. This was a great struggle for me, but I was baptized again because I wanted to be sure that my baptism was Scriptural – following my salvation.

A few weeks ago I woke in the middle of the night and could not go back to sleep. I still am not sure how my thoughts moved to Christian baptism, but before I knew it I was up and writing down truths the Lord impressed on my heart. Wonderful things!

For the record, I am a Baptist. It is my conviction that only believers should be baptized (Acts 8:37). I believe that baptism should be by immersion (Acts 8:38).  Baptism does not save a man, but is an outward sign of an inward change that has already taken place. I believe that baptism should be done under the authority of a Bible preaching local church (Acts 2:41). While I believe all of these truths, the question that came to me was so basic: Why did Christ choose baptism as the sign of a believer?

Christ testified that He chose to be baptized “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). When He gave the commission to His followers He commanded that those who believe on Him should be baptized (Matthew 28:19). Of all the things He could have said to do He chose baptism! But why?

  1. Baptism is simple. O, the beautiful simplicity in following Christ! It is not complicated. It does not take long. Baptism happens at a definite moment – a picture of the instantaneous moment when a person believes on the Lord Jesus and is saved.
  2. Baptism is a choice. No one can be baptized for you. It cannot happen by accident. Followers of Christ must choose to follow Him for themselves.
  3. Baptism is not something you do on your own. It is a church ordinance, administered by a minister of the gospel. It is not something you do; it is done to you. What a picture of salvation! All a true follower can do is submit.
  4. Baptism is not you speaking – the symbol speaks. The baptismal candidate is not told to say anything. Our salvation rests on His Word, not ours. Baptism pictures the truth of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:4). A truth that we have accepted by faith.
  5. Baptism is obvious. There is no mistaking it! You go in dry and come out wet! It is a mark. A clear testimony.
  6. Baptism is not about who baptizes you but whose name you are baptized in. It is not about your Paul or Cephas or Apollos (1 Corinthians 1:12-15). It is about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  7. Baptism is only done one time. Salvation is a once for all gift and baptism pictures that. Once received, it is never done again. It doesn’t need to be! It was perfect.
  8. Baptism is a matter of obedience. Jesus Himself chose it. Jesus Himself commanded it. Those who love Him should have no problem following Him.

When we stand in the water the water crosses our body like the cross where Jesus died. We go into the water as Jesus was buried and come out of the water as He rose from the grave! What a powerful picture of our faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. But it is also a deeply personal one. It symbolizes our own death with Him, our burial with Him, and the resurrection life that we now have in our Lord.

Often I meet believers who have never taken the next step of obedience. Perhaps you are struggling or know someone who is. Meditate on these truths. Pass them along to others. Baptism is both a sober and joyful act. It is the first way we identify with the One who willingly identified with us. Baptism is not about a church; it is about Christ. Follow Him.

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  1. Donald Sculley on May 10, 2018 at 10:40 AM

    Bro. Pauley has a very simple yet profound way of presenting truth. Blessed truths!

  2. NATE POFF on May 21, 2018 at 9:02 AM

    This was on point, brother Pauley. Thank you so much for following our Lord and Savior and sharing what he’s shown you.

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