There are few things more debated than baptism between churches. I mean if you went around and asked people from different denominations what baptism meant and how to perform it; I bet you would get several different answers. One might say we sprinkle, and the other would tell you oh no! They must be completely submerged in water. I am not here to debate how to baptize as much as I want to talk about what it truly means.
Baptism is an important part of our walk with Christ. Jesus told his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” So we see baptism is one of the two main ordinances of the church, the other being communion, and they are both extremely important to Jesus.
For today I just want to focus on baptism and what it represents. When someone becomes a believer in Christ and is born again we usually encourage them to be baptized. For me this means being submerged completely in water. This symbolizes being dead, buried and raised again to walk in newness of life.
In Romans 6 we find Paul teaching about being baptized into Christ. He says, “do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death?” In this scripture you will notice there is no water even mentioned. Here we discover what true baptism is really all about. God has placed us believers into Christ. He included us in Christ’s crucifixion meaning we obviously were included in his resurrection also. Wow! Did you catch that? In God’s outlook we truly have died and been raised again with Christ! The problem is that most of us don’t see it this way.
Baptism therefore is the way in which God has completely cut us off from the old world, old way and the old us. It is his divine dividing line if you will. He gathers up all of the old from Adam and has it crucified in Christ, buries it and raises up a brand new creation in his Son. That’s grounds for shouting! When people talk of the old man being dead, it is TRUE! He has already died in Christ, but the good news is we have been raised again as a new man. Paul actually goes on to say, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
So now we see why baptism can become so divisive. I don’t particularly have a problem with how it is performed; so much as I have a problem when we don’t truly know what it’s all about. If we could only see ourselves as being crucified, dead, buried and raised again in Christ, the formality of it all would rightfully become secondary. I will end with a quote from Watchman Nee he said, “unless our eyes have been opened by God to see that we have died in Christ and been buried with him, we have no right to be baptized.”