Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Understanding Water Baptism

Jesus commanded all those who believe in Him to be baptized in water (Matthew 28:18-19). See also Acts 2:38-41.

To be “baptized” means to be “total immersed”. The act of going under the water and rising up from it again is a picture demonstrating what has happened to the Christian believers.

There are four stages of Christ’s work pictured in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

1. He Died—I died in Him. ”Knowing this, that our old man (old nature) is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin; for he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)

2. He was buried—I was buried with him. ”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 should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Water baptism is your funeral service! A burial service is not to kill a person. It is only performed when the person is dead already. And so, because you have “died” in Christ, you bury your old life in water baptism.

3. He was raised—”I was raised from the watery grave to live a new life in Him.” (Romans 6:4)

4. He ascended—I ascended in Him. “He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

Water baptism is a symbolic proclamation of the fact that believers have been buried with Christ and raised with Him. Water baptism is for all who believe in Christ and who repent of their sins (Acts 2:38). See also Mark 16:16. Baptism in water “fulfills all righteousness” (Matthew 4:15). Water baptism is an “answer of a good conscience toward God.” (1 Peter 3:21)

- Pastor Virgil Amundson