Last week we discussed how Adam’s sin and rebellion towards God passed on a sinful nature to all of mankind. Death reigned in Adam and because of Adam’s sin, all of humanity inherited a sinful nature. All mankind inherited spiritual death and eternal separation from God. So we needed something to radically change. Our heritage and the people we were connected to by natural birth were leading us to our own destruction. We needed a new Head, a new Leader, a new Lord. We needed a new supernatural rebirth or we were in trouble.
God in his superabundant grace and mercy gave us access to a new Master. We could be reborn into a new fellowship of those who inherited eternal life instead of eternal death. This new leader would head up a new clan of people: the fellowship of the redeemed. God created a way of redemption. 1 Corinthians 15:22 shows us our hope in Jesus. “22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
God provided for us life through His Son Jesus Christ. “In Christ shall all be made alive.” Jesus was able to offer to us eternal life when we were dangling by a thread over eternal death. Romans 5:14 says that Adam “was a type of the one who was to come.”
- Adam was one kind of representative – a man who represented death.
- But God sent a new representative – a SECOND ADAM – a man who would represent grace and life and the mercy of God.
Paul says in Romans 5:11, “we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Jesus, our new Lord and Savior, made a way for us to change allegiances. We no longer needed to be represented by the rebellion of Adam, but by receiving Jesus as our new Lord and new Head and new representative, we could find peace with God.
In Colossians 2:12, Pauls says, “12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” We were given the opportunity through Jesus to leave our old allegiances to sin and to submit ourselves to a new master.
When a believer freely chooses to submit to the Lordship of Christ, he also willingly puts all other allegiances behind him. He is dead to the former life and that’s a good thing. Our life in Adam – the life we were born into in the flesh – was one that was plagued by spiritual death. The Christ follower gladly chooses to place that old life behind them. It is buried. It is put away because What we gain in Jesus is far greater than anything we give up in the world.
In Adam we were given eternal death, but in Jesus we are given eternal life! Today we are going to celebrate that truth by baptism. When the candidate goes down into the water, it is a picture of going down to the grave and being buried. It is a picture of dying to our former life of sin. But we don’t stay in the grave. Through Christ, we are raised to new life.
Romans 6:4 says, “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 clearly pictures death to one’s old way of life in bondage to sin and a rising to a new kind of life in Christ.
Sometimes people think the imagery of baptism is a little morbid and they try to replace it with simply a purification of sin without acknowledging the analogy of death to our old life and new life in Jesus. Certainly the purification of sin is an important element of our new life with Christ. The water can symbolize a washing and purification from sin. Titus 3:5 speaks of the “washing of regeneration.” When we were saved, there was a removal and cleansing of sin.
But saying that the washing away of sin is the only thing represented in baptism – or even the main thing represented in baptism – does not faithfully represent the teaching of the New Testament. Both death and resurrection along with a washing away of sins is represented in the ordinance of baptism.
Consider this image. Water sometimes symbolizes God’s judgment in the Bible.
- In Genesis, God destroyed the whole earth with water. He judged unbelievers by bringing a massive flood upon the earth
- In Ex 14, the Egyptians were brought under God’s judgment with water as well and drown in the Red Sea.
It could be said that because of our sin, we too are brought under God’s wrath and God’s judgment, but because of Jesus, we don’t stay there. He delivers us from God’s judgment. God’s wrath would have resulted in eternal punishment.
BUT… Jesus rescued us. He brought us through the water of God’s judgment and delivered us up to eternal life! The truth of passing through God’s wrath unharmed and the truth that Christ washed our sins away have staggering and eternal ramifications. We should take every opportunity to give glory to God over the life changing and eternity transforming work that happened in our lives the day we came to a new life in Jesus.
Romans 6:3 says, “3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” In Christ, we are purified from sin and saved from God’s wrath but that symbolism is secondary to the fact that baptism represents a death to the old life and a resurrection with Christ. It was the end of the curse we inherited from Adam and a deliverance to a new Master, Lord and Representative who leads us to everlasting life.
We don’t want to loose sight of the purpose or the symbolism of this incredible ceremony. Baptism carries with it tremendous blessing and significance and beauty for those who understand what it represents.
Today we celebrate that we were once spiritually dead. We were heading to an eternity separated from Christ… Until that day when the Holy Spirit got ahold of us and we were reborn. We were given spiritual life. We died to the old life of sin. That is gone and buried. We were made alive in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What Canyon Believes About Baptism
We believe that you are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. We categorically reject any teaching that requires baptism for salvation. However, we do believe that the Scriptures command every believer to be baptized as soon as they are able after they receive Jesus christ as their Lord and Savior. (Eph. 2:8-10)
The Lord commanded His disciples to baptize all disciples (Matt 28:18-20). In the early church believers observed the Lord’s command by baptizing those who were saved (Acts 8:38, 10:44-48, 16:31-33, 18:8).
Baptism is a public declaration of a believer’s commitment to Christ. The symbolic meaning is explained in Romans 6:1-4 and we believe is best portrayed by immersion in water. When a person goes under the water, he/she identifies with the death of Christ. To come up out of the water is symbolic of sharing in the resurrection of Christ out of death.
Who should be baptized?
Everyone who has received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior should be baptized.
Why should I be baptized?
Because it is a command from Jesus Christ, gives Him glory and encourages us and God’s people! In His “Great Commission” to the church Jesus commanded, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…(Matt 28:19) Also, in the book of Acts we find numerous accounts of the early church baptizing believers.
Will getting baptized save me?
No. Baptism is a matter of obedience not salvation. We believe the Scriptures teach that baptism is an “outward symbol” of what has already occurred inwardly in a person’s heart. The Bible teaches we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.