Baptism is a physical rite that publicly testifies to personal spiritual realities. But what spiritual realities does baptism picture?
Baptism is a physical rite publicly testifying to the personal spiritual reality of a person’s salvation. “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And [Peter] commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 10:47–48a, ESV) Note that baptism is for those who are already saved (“who have received”). Baptism is not for infants or unbelievers.
Baptism is a physical rite testifying to the spiritual reality of a person’s baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. (The local church being the physical representation of Christ’s spiritual body here on Earth). “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27, ESV) “[H]e saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5, ESV)
Baptism is a public testimony of a person’s willingness to die to self and identify with Christ by living a new life committed to following Him. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3–4, ESV) This new life of the believer is to be lived in obedience to the commands of Jesus. Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize converts “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). To be “baptized in” someone’s name was to become their disciple with the expectation of obedience to their new teacher. Baptism is a primary step of obedience in the life of a believer.
Look again at Romans 6:3-4 above. Baptism by immersion best pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of the believer with Jesus Christ.
Baptism by immersion is a physical rite that publically testifies to three personal spiritual realities.
Have you been baptized by immersion after your salvation? If not, then make plans to do so soon! If you have, then take some time to reflect on the three realities that your baptism testifies of in your life.
Further reading: Acts 16:23-34; Acts 9:1-18; Acts 2:36-41
David Harris is the Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. A former programmer, in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Kim and trying his hand at the illusive craft of smoking meat.