the·ol·o·gy noun : the study of God
We study God through His Word each Thursday on the blog. Our goal is to present the truth of God in a way you can digest and apply. This week we will look at what God’s Word says about baptism.
Laura was one of my closest friends in high school. She invited me to church long before I became a Christian. Once I turned my life over to Christ, she was a friend I ran to often with my questions about God and the Bible. But something about Laura bummed me out . . .
She didn’t want to be baptized.
We talked about it a few times. When I asked her why she had never been baptized, she would always say something like . . .
"I just don’t think I need to."
"I don’t want to."
"I’m a Christian. I love Jesus. I think that’s enough."
Baptism is a picture of the way only God can make us pure and whole.
Laura was right. She didn’t have to be baptized in order to follow Jesus, but I still wanted her to. I just didn’t have enough biblical knowledge to understand why at the time. Many years later, I’ve seen God’s plan for baptism laced throughout the Bible, specifically in the Gospels and the book of Acts. Just in case there are some "Lauras" reading this blog who are Christians who have either decided not to be baptized or who are simply wondering why they should, here are four good reasons to be baptized.
You should be baptized as a symbol of God’s grace.
Repentance is a fancy church word for being sorry for and running away from your sin. The Bible makes a clear connection between repentance and baptism.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38, emphasis added).
When we repent, we agree that we are sinners who violate God’s standards for holiness. Part of the process of repentance is telling God we need Him to clean up the messes we make. Because of grace, He is faithful to do it!
Baptism is a way to say the world, "I can’t be holy on my own. I’m a sinner and I can’t stop sinning, but because of God’s grace, I can turn from sin." Baptism is a picture of the way only God can make us pure and whole. Isn’t that a picture you’d like to paint for the world?
You should be baptized because it shows your loyalty to Christ.
I like how Pastor John Piper puts it:
Faith unites us to Christ; baptism symbolizes the union.
An analogy would be saying, "With this ring I thee wed." When we say that, we don’t mean that the ring or the putting on of the ring on the finger is what makes us married. No, it shows the covenant and symbolized the covenant, but the covenant-making vows make the marriage. So it is with faith and baptism.
You should be baptized because Jesus commanded it.
Right before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave His disciples their marching orders. These were His final words to them—the things He really wanted them to remember until His return.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19–20, emphasis added).
In addition to promising He would never leave us, God gave Christians very specific instructions:
- Make disciples.
- Baptize those disciples.
- Teach them to follow God’s Word.
Because baptism is a symbol of God’s grace and because it is a way to publicly pledge our allegiance to Him, Christ commands it for His disciples.
You should be baptized because Jesus did it.
Matthew 3 tells the story of Jesus’ baptism:
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:16–17).
Jesus was baptized. I want to be like Jesus. That is good enough for me.
How about you? Have you been baptized? How would you convince my friend Laura to be baptized, too? I’d love to hear about it.
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Four good reasons to be baptized today on @lywbblog.