In the RezProject we focus on evidence for the resurrection. Did you know that there is resurrection evidence in the very act of becoming a Christian? This evidence comes in the form of baptism.
Have you been baptized? Did you know that baptism is a picture of you dying with Jesus on the Cross, and being resurrected with him? Somehow in the supernatural realm of heaven the Apostle Paul tells us that we are joined with Jesus and His resurrection through baptism.
Romans 6:3-4 says:
3 Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
We are buried with Him when we are baptized. Then we are born again spiritually as we come up out of the water. We rise from the waters of baptism, being powerfully raised from our former life. At that moment, we are publicly beginning a new life free from the bondage of sin.
While our belief in Christ usually begins days, weeks, or even years earlier, it is our baptism that is the official public pronouncement (usually in front of family and friends), that we are joining the family of God! We are Christians! We are committed to living a new life, as a new creation, a follower of Jesus Christ.
So Baptism is the first public resurrection act in the life of a Christian. Jesus was raised from the dead, and we are raised from a dead life to a brand new one.
Baptism, along with Communion, is a sacred act or “Sacrament” of Christianity. John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, was famous for baptizing people.
All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
John the Baptist even baptized his own cousin Jesus.
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires. ” So John agreed to baptize him.
Believing the Gospel and then being water baptized are linked together throughout the New Testament. Peter focused on baptism as the normal thing people did to be officially added to the church.
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.
Phillip and all the early disciples baptized those that believed their message.
But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized.
Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”
He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
Paul, when he had his supernatural coversion experience, was baptized.
Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.
So we see that baptism has always been the act that not only demonstrates a public commitment to Jesus but also somehow completes a legal business transaction on our account in Heaven. After Baptism we can be confident that our status has changed. We are officially moved from the column marked “dead in our sins” to “Covered by the blood of Jesus”.
Now many Christians would hold the view that this happens at the point of belief or faith being activated in a person. I would not argue that.
But let’s also remember that the Book of Acts clearly shows all Apostles and disciples using Baptism as the official act of being added to the church as they understood it. So Baptism should be honored and followed based on the Biblical mandate. As James, the brother of Jesus said:
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? “ James 2:14 NLT