Baptism, something that the church has long held dear and close to heart, is unfortunately something that is very misunderstood in today’s church. Not only have I had the experience of reading on the many misconceptions of baptism, but I have also relationally experienced them here while serving at First Baptist. Most of these misunderstandings come from simply not knowing what the bible actually says regarding baptism, but also from different denominational traditions that go back centuries. What we want to do this week with our students is show them the biblical mode and reason for baptism, and what exactly this ordinance symbolizes in the church.
Baptism is a ceremony that symbolizes one’s salvation: dying to our own selfish agenda (“buried with Christ in the likeness of his death”) and now walking in faithful obedience to God’s will through Jesus (“raised to walk in the newness of life”). Though Jesus never sinned, we do know that He did nothing of his own accord, but always submitted to the will of His Heavenly Father – being obedient even unto death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). In the same way, baptism represents our willingness to die to our own ways and follow God’s way. How then do we do this? Through the resurrecting power of Jesus Christ! We join Christ in the likeness of his death, and also in His resurrection by now living a new life; turning away from sin and embracing a Spirit led life.
These truths from scripture are very encouraging and prove baptism to be an important ordinance for the church to keep. And yet, we remember that baptism is not salvation, but merely a symbol – an outward expression of obedience for those who have already been saved. We who are in Christ are to be baptized because Christ told us too – not because it saves us. As the Apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 3:21: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not as the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a good conscience towards God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”.
We want our students to learn at FUEL this week about the blessings of obedience that come from baptism. Yet we also want learn to learn exactly what baptism is: an ordinance to be keep by the church as a symbol of those who are already saved.
In this, we hope to have many good conversations with our students about salvation and baptism. We will continue to pray that students who need Christ in salvation will come to a saving faith through hearing the Gospel, and also that students in our student ministry who have never been biblically baptized would be obedient to do so. Please join us in this prayer!