Jesus in the great commission said, “make disciples and baptize them.” ( Matthew 28:19 ) If Jesus thought it was important, so should we even if we don’t fully understand the spiritual reason for it. Jesus set the example by being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan even though He was sinless and had no sins to be ‘washed away’. (Mark 1:9)
Baptism has a profound effect on a person’s mindset about their Faith commitment. It is a constant reminder of God’s saving grace.
Baptism is an event which is never forgotten. It creates a memory of a lifetime. The time, the place, the pastor, the friends, and the witnesses all come to mind when a person thinks about their baptism experience. That is why baptism should take place when a person is of an age to make the decision fully understanding what baptism means. It should not be done just as a ritual of the church or to qualify for church membership.
While it is true that baptism is not a prerequisite for one’s salvation, it does put a ‘Spiritual Seal’ on it.
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Baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inner change that has taken place when a person accepts Christ as Savior and Lord. It tells the world, usually in front of several or many witnesses, that a person is now a Christian and not ashamed of it. ( See Luke 9:26 )
Baptism symbolizes dying (buried) with Christ and to self and then rising to a new life in HIM in this present life and for life in eternity. It also means that a person has decided to follow Jesus and now there is no turning back to the old way of life. In another sense, it reflects repentance and forgiveness and acceptance by God.
In a symbolic way, the waters of baptism means having your sins washed away and being resurrected to newness of life in Christ. In other words, becoming a New Creation in Christ. ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ) and receiving the Holy Spirit.
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These are important questions. They involve a matter critical to the Christian Faith. The answer to the second question is also the answer to the first question. In life there are many authority figures that need to be honored and respected and obeyed; parents, teachers, officers of the law, Government authorities and the like. When a rule or law is broken there are consequences and justice must be served.
God is the supreme judge and ultimate authority (sovereign) over the entire universe and everything in it. So when Adam, the first man, sinned and disobeyed God, death was the penalty. God, who is eternal, holy, omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent, omnipotent (all powerful), just, and in control of his creation, did ‘FIX’ the sin problem that man, Adam and Eve, initially created. Disobedience broke the intimate personal relationship God intended for mankind and himself. God’s holiness and justice demand that sin and rebellion be punished. The punishment is eternal separation from God. (Romans 6:23)
The ‘FIX’ was for God to send his son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for man’s sins by his death on the cross (John 3:16). Jesus clearly understood his mission on earth was to proclaim the kingdom of God and to be a sacrifice for the sins of man. He knew it was God’s will for him to die. Jesus willingly laid down his life as an atonement for sin. In other words, Jesus paid the price or the penalty for our sins and in so doing established an opportunity to restore a right relationship with God and become one of his children. It’s called God’s Grace or unmerited favor.
The Bible says, ”without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”(Hebrews 9:22) So it was Christ’s sinless blood that was shed to provide for man’s salvation and redemption and a new beginning with God in this life and in the life to come in heaven. (Romans 4:7,8) Those who put their trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord are ‘Born again’, have their sins forgiven and receive the assurance of eternal life.
Jesus had to die to fulfill God’s requirement for justice because of mankind’s sin. The good news is that the God of all creation is also loving, merciful, and gracious. He fixed this problem with the most expensive and precious gift and way possible, with Jesus Christ his only son. So our sins are paid for, and we no longer have to die an eternal death. This is why Jesus had to die and how the all powerful God of Creation FIXED the sin problem once and forever.
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