Laura was one of my closest friends in high school. She invited me to church long before I became a Christian. Once I turned my life over to Christ, she was a friend I ran to often with my questions about God and the Bible. But something about Laura bummed me out . . .
She refused to be baptized.
When I asked her why, she would always say something like . . .
“I just don’t think I need to.”
“I don’t want to.”
“I’m a Christian. I love Jesus. I think that’s enough.”
Laura was right. She didn’t have to be baptized in order to follow Jesus, but I still wanted her to. I just didn’t have enough biblical knowledge to understand why at the time. Many years later, I see God’s plan for baptism laced throughout the Bible, specifically in the Gospels and the book of Acts.
Maybe you’re a “Laura.” You’re a Christian who has decided not to be baptized. Or maybe you’re just wondering if you should. Here are four good reasons:
1. Baptism is a symbol of God’s grace.
Repentance means being sorry for and running away from our sin. The Bible makes a connection between repentance and baptism.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, emphasis mine).
When we repent, we agree with God that we are sinners who violate His standards for holiness. Part of the process of repentance is telling God we need Him to clean up the mess we make.
Because of grace, He is faithful to do it!
Baptism is a way to say the world, “I can’t be holy on my own. I’m a sinner and I can’t stop sinning, but because of God’s grace, I can turn from sin.” Baptism is a picture of the way only God can make us pure and whole. Isn’t that a picture you’d like to paint for the world?
2. Baptism is a symbol of your faith.
I like how Pastor John Piper puts it: “Faith unites us to Christ; baptism symbolizes the union.”
An analogy would be saying “With this ring I thee wed” at a wedding. When couples say that, they don’t mean that the ring or the act of putting a ring on a finger is what makes them married. It is a symbol of the promise they are making, but the covenant-making vows make the marriage. So it is with faith and baptism.
3. Baptism declares the name of Jesus.
Right before Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave His disciples their marching orders. These were His final words to them.
“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19–20, emphasis added).
God gave Christians very specific instructions:
- Make disciples.
- Baptize those disciples.
- Teach them to follow God’s Word.
Because baptism is a symbol of God’s grace and because it is a way to publicly pledge our allegiance to Him, Christ commands His disciples to be baptized and baptize others in His name.
4. Jesus was baptized.
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16–17).
Jesus was baptized. I want to be like Jesus. That is good enough for me.
How about you? Have you been baptized? How would you convince my friend Laura to be baptized too? I’d love to hear about it.