Why did I wait so long?
Because I thought I had to be the “perfect” Christian. You know, the one who goes to church every Sunday (and doesn’t miss a single day!), the one who reads her Bible every day (and has nearly every verse memorized), the one who never sins (not even in private).
Because I didn’t actually know anything about baptism.
When Pastor David preached an “abnormal” sermon a few weeks ago, I knew it was God’s way of reaching my heart. Here’s exactly what we talked about (it was so heart-tugging, I had to get permission to share it!):
Why does God instruct us to be baptized?
Baptism is presented in the New Testament as the first act of obedience in service to the Lord. Anyone can be baptized as it requires no special talents or effort.
Jesus set the example Himself by submitting to baptism before He began His public ministry (see Matt 3:13-17). By being baptized, Jesus was willing to set the example in submission and obedience to God’s will.
What was the purpose of baptism?
Physical baptism is a picture of a spiritual truth. It’s a physical showing of what has already happened in your heart (salvation). Romans 6:1-7 speaks about two purposes of baptism:
- It pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- It’s a public testimony of the believer’s identification with Jesus.
Since we are saved through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, our baptism identifies us with Him. (I’m still wrapping my head around that part.)
Who should be baptized?
Acts 8:26-39 is the story of the Ethiopian eunuch being baptized. All he needed to “do” to be baptized was believe with all his heart. This story shows that the same requirements for baptism are the same requirements for salvation. So what’s needed for salvation? You need to believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, and you need to confess that He is Lord and Saviour (see Romans 10:9-10).
There are no cases of baptism in the Bible of anyone but believers who are able to publicly confess that truth.
What is the method of baptism?
Both the Ethiopian eunuch and Jesus Christ “went down into the water and came up out of the water.” The picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is clearly shown by immersing someone down below the water, and then bringing them up out of the water. The dead goes under, the new comes up.
How important is it to be baptized?
Baptism is not essential for salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, without works (Ephesians 2:8-9). That includes the work of being baptized. But, baptism is essential for obedience to Christ and spiritual growth. Baptism is also an integral part of the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20).
Takeaway: If someone is not willing to submit to the very first act of obedience in following Christ, then is it practical to expect that they will be willing to follow the other teachings of Jesus Christ?
In short, God wants you to be baptized. It’s the public display of what’s already happened in your spirit. So after hearing all this, I knew I had no reason NOT to get baptized. In fact, I should have gotten baptized when I was first saved (there are some cases of baptism immediately after salvation – Acts 8:12, Acts 18:2). Part of me was scared, and I certainly didn’t feel “ready”, but I knew it’s what God wanted, so I did it.
One other friend in the church was also going to be baptized, so originally it was just KS and I. However, on the morning of the baptisms, Graham felt called to be baptized, so he joined in on the fun!
After a brief church meeting, we drove to Ao Yon beach to get baptized in the ocean.