By: Waylon Bailey
Baptism matters. Seventy-four people yesterday determined that it does.
Those 74 people were baptized in the Bogue Falaya River in Covington in obedience to the command of Christ and to take their stand as His followers.
Why does baptism matter?
First, it matters because of the example of Jesus. At the beginning of His public ministry Jesus submitted to be baptized by John the Baptist. John, of course, protested that Jesus should baptize him rather than the other way around.
But Jesus insisted. He wanted to “fulfill all righteousness.”
Jesus gave us His example to follow.
Why be baptized in the river?
I think people like being baptized in the river because of the authentic nature of the river baptism. After all, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River.
It’s important at this point to let you know that I don’t know of any Baptist group who believe that baptism is essential for entering into the kingdom of heaven.
Most Baptists think of baptism in this way: it is in obedience to Christ, and it is an outward demonstration of an inward commitment which has previously been made to Christ.
Second, baptism matters because Jesus told us to baptize disciples. Therefore, baptism becomes a matter of obedience unto Christ.
I don’t know of any Christian group that does not baptize or see the importance of baptism. How we differ is in the manner of baptism.
Third, baptism matters because it marks us as a follower of Christ. As Jesus marked his early ministry by being baptized, we mark the beginning of our spiritual journey by being baptized.Finally, baptism matters because by doing so we identify with Christ. We identify both with his death and with his resurrection (Romans 6:1–4).
Our immersion in the water shows and symbolizes Christ’s death. When we emerge from the water, we are showing His and our resurrection.
Baptism mattered to Jesus and the early church. It should matter to us as well.
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Have a great week!