A few weeks ago, I wrote about Communion and the significance of it. It can be found here. Today, I will discuss the other Ordinance given to the Church by Jesus, Baptism. What is the significance of Baptism? What is it for?
Baptism is an ordinance whereby believers, and only believers, are submerged in water and promptly raised again from the waters. This signifies the believer’s union with Christ in the death, burial, and resurrection. It is a symbol of a believer’s belief. What is at its heart, though? We saw the significance of Communion, now what is so special about baptism?
Romans 6:6 (ESV)
6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin
“We know” suggests that this is a prerequisite for baptism. Being crucified with Christ is already known. Our old, sinful self is crucified, and dead. This is a clear affirmation that only those that know they’ve been crucified with Christ are qualified. No baby baptism. But, what else does this passage say?
Romans 6:3-4 (ESV)
3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Baptism, then, is representative of our union with Christ in his death, and, most specifically, his burial and resurrection. This is the reason I waited until Resurrection Day to post this. Christ, being buried, showed himself to truly be dead. There was no life left in him. He did not swoon. He did not faint. He died. As we are plunged into the water, we are swallowed up in it. It envelops us to the point that we are completely consumed. We are showing the reality of death. Death swallowed up Christ. The grave completely surrounded him. There was no escape. And he yet lives! He was raised after being dead for three days. There was no doubt that this Jesus was truly dead, yet he now rose. This is signified in the raising of the believer after the plunge into the watery grave. Why can we do this? Because we are connected with Christ so fully that we may be said to be “in him.” When we were crucified with him, we were guaranteed to be buried and resurrected with him. This is the assurance of the believer. This is what we may look to as a promise from God.
Baptism is not a saving action, but it does represent a saving promise from God. If we are in Christ, we will be raised with Christ never to die again. Communion represents our fellowship with God, and baptism represents our position with God in order to have that fellowship.
The resurrection of our Lord must be true for us to be assured of anything. Otherwise, our communion with God would end in this life. I will let Paul draw the conclusion if this is the case.
1 Corinthians 15:19 (ESV)
19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
Praise God that we do not have to worry about such things! Christ is risen! Soli Deo Gloria and happy Resurrection Day!