IV. What does baptism do for the believer? What is its role?
Romans 6:3 – 6
Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims.
Baptism is a monumental landmark in our discipleship journey. But it not only is of individual historic significance but a marks a major transition point for us that we can use as a point of reference in our lives (Rom 6:3 – 4). Baptism signifies and proclaims the good news of one’s own death.
Through baptism, we are publicly claiming Christ’s death for ourselves proclaiming our death in Him. Baptism signifies death, death to the old man, to the sinful nature, to the world. The gospel proclaims your death in Christ (Watchman Nee)
As 1 Corinthians 1:30 clearly states it is of God that we are IN Christ Jesus through our faith in Him: But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us—our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
- Through water baptism we publicly declare our position IN Christ that we have occupied through our faith.
- Baptism is the consolidation of a position one is already in by virtue of one’s faith in Christ and God’s gracious working.
- Baptism associates and identifies us with Christ, His crucifixion, His death, burial and ultimately His resurrection to a new and fresh life.
In your walk and life with The Lord you will keep coming back to and referring to this point in time to remind yourself of the public declaration of commitment you made and its significance and implications in your life.
In our struggle and reckoning with sin, we will need to remind ourselves that sin has no dominion over us because we are dead to it. You died with Christ and you tangibly, physically demonstrated your death with him by being baptised into Him in water baptism. Your baptism, your dunking in the water represents your burial WITH HIM, while your coming out of the water after being totally immersed in it represents your rising up from the dead WITH HIM to a newness of life, a life defined and characterised by Him and His word.
Remember, baptism does not make it happen as such. In baptism we are just declaring, publicly demonstrating what has actually taken place and we have appropriated for ourselves by virtue of the faith and trust we have put in the Son of God. In baptism, it is this faith we are affirming and declaring. You look forward to baptism as a means of affirming your faith and celebrating your obedience to The Lord which brings glory to Him.
Baptism is an open declaration of one’s dissociation from the world and a public demonstration of one’s association with Christ.
Water baptism forms the tangible grounds for the self-reckoning which we are instructed to engage our mind in in Romans 6:11 – So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. This self-reckoning utilises the platform of baptism and is, in a sense, baptism applied. This self-reckoning is critically important and must become second nature to us as the physical body we carry still has the propensity to respond to satanic stimuli.
Within the mandate of making disciples of all nations, and within the process of discipling and being discipled is the all-important and integral element of water baptism. Through this baptism we publicly declare our allegiance with Christ.
In water baptism, we are demonstrating our obedience to Christ acknowledging His lordship over our lives which, going forward, we want to definitely maintain and grow in our lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
New believers – in realising that they are dead (co-death with Christ), they allow themselves to be buried in water. By seeing they are resurrected, they come out of the water to serve God. (Watchman Nee)
It is our faith in and obedience to Christ and our desire to glorify the great new covenant work of God in our life that persuades us to get baptised.
“Have you been washed by the blood of the Lamb? Are your sins forgiven? Have you died with Christ and risen by faith to walk in newness of life? Does the Spirit of Christ dwell in you? Is the law being written on your heart? If so, then, come and signify, through faith and baptism, and glorify God’s great new covenant work in your life. It is intended by God to display in a drama the work of the new covenant for the new covenant people.” John Piper