Why Baptism is Important
Our Lord’s last earthly words were, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” We are called to make disciples and with that baptize those who come to faith. So what exactly is baptism beyond a bath in front of all your friends and family. We define baptism as, “an outward, public act of an inward, personal commitment to Jesus Christ.”
It is a public symbol of an eternal truth that we have placed our faith in Christ. The act of water immersion symbolically recognizes our union with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Because Christ died for us, we die to the penalty of our sins (Rom. 6:3-4). Because Jesus conquered death, we also share in the power and joy of being resurrected from death.
Now, to be clear, baptism is not necessary for salvation. We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ. “For it is by grace you are saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift from God.” (Eph. 2:8) After God saves us, we respond in obedience to be baptized, motivated by a heart of gratitude and commitment. We remember the thief on the cross who Jesus told, “today you will be with me in paradise.” The thief did not at that point get off the cross, get baptized, get back on the cross and die. It was because he responded to Jesus in faith by asking Jesus to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The thing to remember is that when we place our faith in Him, we love Him through our obedience, and in this case an obedience to be baptized.
In addition, baptism is a public display of the Gospel. It is an opportunity to share with everyone who will hear what is most important, with the possibility that God may use this in another’s journey to faith. We strongly encourage those who go through the waters of baptism to invite friends and family. For the believer, who witnesses a baptism, it is and encouragement of God’s faithfulness and to the non-believer it is witness to Christ’s atoning work on the cross.
There are many who have reservations about baptism. Some believe that they have not been Christian long enough or are mature enough. To this we would remind them of the places in God’s word where people believed and were immediately baptized. In Acts 8:35, 38 it says, “Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. . . . He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.”
Another struggle people have with being baptized is their fear of being in front of so many people. For those that this is a struggle we would remind them that everyone is truly supportive and excited for them. The church is there to celebrate this step in their faith journey.
Baptism is a beautiful thing and for the leadership some of the most special times as a church body. It is a time to see how God has uniquely drawn someone to Himself and saved them through the power of Gospel. If you are a believer and have not been baptized, glorify our deserving Lord through your obedience to be baptized.
Kelly Kira wears many ministry hats with Lighthouse, including design, children’s ministries, and church life. He loves the Lighthouse church family and the opportunity to work with those who graciously serve the body of Christ. Kelly, his wife Shelley, and their two daughters live in Torrance, where he operates a custom screen printing shop. In addition to ministry, Kelly loves fishing, art, and sports.
M.A. Biblical Counseling, The Master’s College