Look To Your Baptism!

Do you remember your baptism? Too often we don't remember or look back to the day that we entered into the waters of baptism, and if we do it is typically seen as a mere event with no real meaning after the fact.

Baptism is one of the two ordinances, or sacraments, that was given to the local church by Christ,[1] but this God-given ordinance is packed with significance. This significance comes in its identification as well as a sign to the participant. Baptism specifically, is a practice that portrays the believer's death and resurrection with Christ (Rom. 6:4) and in short, is a practice that proclaims the gospel [2] both to the recipient and the onlookers.

For the viewer, and the participant, baptism itself is an identification with Christ and the people of God, in the way that circumcision was an identification of the Jew with the people of God; but goes exceptionally deeper in conveying to us our union with Christ.[3] Paul in his letter to the Colossian church explains this when he ties circumcision as a sign to the sign of baptism. (Col. 2:10-11) It is in this understanding of baptism that we can find both the identification and the symbolic portion of this ordinance.

Under the Old Testament covenant, the Jewish male would be circumcised on his eighth day (Lev. 12:3) to be symbolic of the community of God’s people in which he was being born. This sign acted as an identification for the infant as well as the believing community around him, but it also unified him in an irreversible way to the people of God. There could never be any doubt about who this person was and the group of people into which he had become a part. In a very similar way, baptism identifies a person with a community of believers into which they have been ‘born again’. It identifies a person not only with Christ as a follower but in a secondary way, identifies him/her with the believers that they have entered into community with. Continuing the parallel between the two events, what has happened to one who has put their trust in Christ is spiritually irreversible. This spiritual birth that the believer has is safe in the one Whom they have believed, and with Paul, they can be completely persuaded that He will keep them throughout eternity. When one looks back on their own baptism, they can be reminded that their new identity and union with Christ is as permeant in a spiritual sense as circumcision is permeant in a physical sense.

To understand this union and identification with Christ as savior, we must understand that our identity with Him is completely contingent on His identity with us. In the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Jesus identified himself with sinful humanity, to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15) on the behalf of those that would believe in Him.[4] In a similar way, baptism is an identification with the work of Christ on the believer's behalf and identifying with His divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:2) Baptism does not save but gives the believer a physical sign and a tangible assurance of his union with Christ by faith.

This is part of the beauty of baptism for the believer, in that all the troubles in life are merely calls to look at what Christ has done on our behalf.

Our sin calls to us saying, "Look at the cross and see your Savoir who has reconciled you to God".

Our weariness in this life calls to us saying, "Look to the future and see you coming King".

Our tribulations call saying, "Look unto Him who is always faithful"

And our doubts call saying, "Look to your baptism and see your union with Christ."

This is the importance of the sign that has been given to the church, and the meaning for the participant and the onlooker.

[1] Mark Dever, “The Church,” in A Theology for the Church, ed. Daniel L. Akin (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2014), 612.

[2] Ibid. 615

[3] Ibid. 618

[4] Ibid. 617

25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All