Water Baptism: Taking the Next Step of Obedience
Pictured above Michael Blass baptizing daughter Anna Blass in India 2012
Repent and be baptized…
It was 2002, my boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to take the next step in our journey of faith. We both had accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior and were ready for whatever God had in store for us. So in a local hotel’s pool we openly confessed to others the proclamation that we so intimately made between God.
Today, I hear of water baptism less and less, yet at the time it felt natural, even exciting, to take the next step of obedience. Strewn throughout the New Testament are examples of baptism immediately following salvation. It’s clearly important to God.
76 times the Bible references baptism, sometimes varying slightly in their purpose and intent, but still holding true to its value. Two definitions for baptism stand out; one which means to dip, submerge, but specifically of ceremonial dipping. The second version we will discuss is a baptism that results from sincere repentance, a baptism that God does on our heart.
In water baptism your body is submerged in water, symbolically representing your sin and old nature being cleansed by the life changing impact of Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:4) As you rise you are being presented with a fresh beginning, a clean slate. (Isaiah 1:18)
Just as Communion offers us a reminder of Jesus’s death on the cross so does baptism. Our need for a Savior; a need for God’s grace to cover our sins, and give us a new life in Him.
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.
Water baptism is only a small window into the chrysalis that is taking place on your heart. A heart that is forgiven, atoned for.
Baptism Given by God
Another example of baptism is a result of sincere repentance. This is the baptism only God can give, from which He freely gives when we offer our acknowledgement of sin and need for Him.
Turning from destructive choices of sin, and towards a loving God, Who forgives readily and cleanses thoroughly. (1 John 1:9; 2 Chronicles 7:14)
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
John emphasizes here that the physical process of water baptism is secondary to the life changing effect of baptism of the Holy Spirit, which offers us the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us on the tough mountains and valleys of life.
Although, our heart transformation is the most important, God shows in the Bible that pausing to acknowledge to others of this event was important. Important enough to physically express it as a reminder and proclamation.
Jesus participated in Water Baptism
Jesus life here on earth was an example for us. A life of love, servitude, grace and mercy. One of the days here on earth, he chose to be baptized by water. Dunking in the Jordan river, as His purposeful and intentional life continued to stamp the pages of the blueprint for our lives, we are reminded again of the value of water baptism.
When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He[a] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Water baptism is not a means for salvation, (http://www.allaboutgod.com/water-baptism.htm) but an open confession to those around you, (1 John 4:15) that you are a follower of Christ. It is something to be proud of. And as we live a life that is pleasing to God, He leaves us this charge:
Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.