October 3 I Wednesday
“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.” —Romans 6:4
There were two ordinances that Jesus gave the New Testament church, one of which is baptism. An ordinance is an outward physical act that portrays an inward spiritual experience. Water baptism—going down into water, being immersed and coming out again—is the once-for-all event when a person is united to Christ. It is a picture of how the moment we put our faith in Christ, we die with Him, are buried with Him and are raised with Him to walk in newness of life.
Baptism is not part of or additional to the Gospel but portrays the Gospel. Because of sin, human beings were separated from God, but when we believe in Christ and what He did for us on the cross, He sends His Spirit to live within us and begin reproducing something of His character and holiness in us. Baptism is therefore a witness to friends and family, believers and unbelievers, and all the powers and principalities of this world that we have been freed from the power of sin, reconciled to God and united to Christ.
We might compare water baptism to the exchanging of rings at a wedding. During this part of the ceremony, the couple often say something like, “With this ring, I thee wed,” but wearing a wedding ring does not make a person married any more than taking the ring off severs the marriage. A wedding ring is only a piece of jewellery until it is worn in the context of a marriage relationship. Then it becomes a symbol to anyone who sees it that the wearer is already united in marriage to another.
To be baptized without first entering into relationship with Christ is a little like wearing a wedding ring without being married. Being baptized might make us look spiritual, but as a symbol, the act of baptism is an empty action unless it reflects a living trust in Jesus and His Gospel.
Although water baptism is a symbol and not necessary for salvation, it is commanded. When Jesus commissioned His disciples, He told them, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). As Christians, we must not neglect the importance of baptism, but neither should we get so caught up in discussions of when, where or how someone should be baptized that we forget the value behind it. The symbol of baptism is meant to remind us not only of what was accomplished by Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, but also how we are united with Him in each of these three events.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for the reminder in
baptism that my forgiveness and relationship with You were only possible because of Your Son’s death, burial