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Why Be Baptized?

November 7, 2015
Jesus' baptism

Jesus’ baptism

I know a lot of people think we Christians are silly dunking people in the water all the time. I’d like to explain the importance of this event the way I read it by sharing a few scriptures. I personally believe it is a decision each person should make on their own, following the example of Christ Himself. It is not a requirement for salvation itself, as that comes by grace through faith in Jesus. However, if we want to live our lives for Him and die to ourselves, this indeed is a necessary event we should all study and follow.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 3, John the Baptist tries to talk Jesus Himself out of being baptized. “13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 

Can you imagine being there when this happened? Can you imagine hearing God declaring from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased?” I think it’s important to note this event happens before Jesus ever performs His first miracle. How does His baptism pertain to us? I’m glad you asked.

We are joined with Christ in baptism. Spiritually, we die to ourselves and are resurrected with Christ in that moment. He sends His Spirit to live in us when we do this. Romans 6 tells us, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

We are actually freed from sin. Does that mean we’ll never sin again? Of course not, but we shouldn’t walk in it either. We have new clothes now. Christ fulfilled the law for us, knowing we couldn’t on our own. He did this on the cross and conquered death in resurrection. This is the symbol that is baptism. Galatians 3 says, “24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

How freeing it is to be able to put on Christ? Based on these scriptures I believe that moment is signified and solidified when we are baptized. Yes, it is symbolic, but don’t lose sight of the miracle that happens either. To be made new, to have His Spirit living inside of us. That is why we get baptized.

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