Christians are “followers of Christ;” therefore, it is a privilege to follow His example through water baptism. Baptism is not simply something we do because our parents or the church tell us to – we do it because it is meaningful to our relationship with God. While baptism does not equate to salvation, that does not mean it is unimportant. For believers, the act of baptism is a beautiful expression of faith, resurrection, and obedience that offers many benefits.
1. Honors Christ Through Obedience
Matthew 3:13-15, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.”
John was baptizing people for repentance, yet he recognizes Jesus has no reason to repent. Upon trying to deter Jesus from this act, Jesus tells him, “it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” As Jesus began his public ministry, He was baptized. If Jesus was baptized, why shouldn’t we be baptized?
Later, after His death and resurrection, Jesus meets with the disciples and tells them, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:15). Since this time in history, Christians have honored Christ in obedience through baptism. The very first command Christ gives to new believers is baptism. If you will not obey God on this simple command, how will you obey him on weightier issues.
2. Strengthens Your Faith
Baptism and faith go together; without faith, baptism is just another way to get wet. When we choose baptism, because of our belief in Christ’s death and resurrection, it strengthens our faith. Baptism is a way for believers to understand death and resurrection in a meaningful way. Our sins are symbolically washed away, and the lesson of this act is that we move from death to life.
Romans 6:4-5, “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. 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.”
Both baptism and communion are ways for us to unite with Christ through his suffering and resurrection. These ordinances help us reflect and understand what He did for us, which strengthen our faith.
3. Celebrates Your Commitment to Follow Jesus
Baptism is a purposeful declaration of one’s commitment to follow Jesus. Anytime someone decides to follow Jesus, it is a reason to celebrate. Since baptism is often the first public declaration of our faith, our loved ones celebrate the occasion, and is why it is common for believers to invite friends and family to attend their baptisms. These individuals are sharing their faith with the world, and we get to celebrate alongside them.
4. Encourages Accountability
Along these same lines, baptism encourages accountability. Since baptism is a public declaration of our desire to follow Christ, we should expect those who are present or those who know of our baptism to hold us accountable.
Part of the beauty of belonging to a church and the Christian community is the way we can help one another grow closer to God. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
When we are baptized, we are letting the world know who we belong to, what we stand for, and what we believe. Therefore, we also tell the world what we do not stand for and give those close to us the ability to tell us when we have veered off course.
5. Starts of a New Life
Baptism is also symbolic of new life. When you are raised from the water, it is symbolic of starting clean. Your old self is dead, and your new life in Christ has begun. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Baptism is a public way to announce we believe in the power of Christ to forgive our sins and change our lives.
6. Helps You Share Your Faith
Jesus told the disciples to make other disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them His commands (Matthew 28:19-20). When we publicly declare that we are followers of Jesus, we are sharing Jesus with the world and continuing this mission. Baptism is an opportunity to share our faith in Jesus and His commands with the world around us.
Baptism is an important step in the life of a believer. If you have questions about baptism, I encourage you to seek wisdom and ask questions. If you feel ready to be baptized, reach out today.