Thursday, 7 March 2019

Why Must We Baptize?

The first part of my answer is obvious. Christ commanded us to do so. Mark 16:15 (BBE) says, "And he said to them (his disciples), 'Go into all the world, and give the good news to everyone.'"

But why must people be baptized? Part of the answer is explained in the above verse. Baptism is the first act of outward obedience by a new believer. We see this demonstrated by an Ethiopian eunuch who believed Philip when he explained the gospel to him. Acts 8:36 and 37 (BBE) relates, "And while they were going on their way, they came to some water, and the Ethiopian said, 'See, here is water; why may I not have baptism?' And he gave orders for the carriage to be stopped, and the two of them went down into the water, and Philip gave him baptism."

Baptism is also symbolic of being buried and resurrected with Christ. Romans 6:3 and 4(BBE) says, "Or are you without the knowledge that all we who had baptism into Christ Jesus, had baptism into his death? We have been placed with him among the dead through baptism into death: so that as Christ came again from the dead by the glory of the Father, we, in the same way, might be living in new life."

Then there's Ephesians 4:5 (KJV). "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," By the way, this shows how unifying baptism is in relation to all believers. It would also make a great bumper sticker text.

Some new believers might be confused by the baptism done by John who was the forerunner of Christ. His baptism was done as an act of repentance. But the baptism Christ preached superceded John's as being an act of obedience. Luke 7:29 (BBE) reads, "And all the people, and the tax-farmers, to whom John had given baptism, when they had knowledge of these things, gave glory to God"

By the way, the very next verse shows that the Pharisees were disobedient even to John's baptism. They derided what Christ said, thinking they needed no repentance.

John knew his baptism was inferior to Christ's. He said in Mark 1:8 (BBE)that, "I have given you baptism with water, but he will give you baptism with the Holy Spirit."

I'll be writing more about baptism, particularly the baptism of the Holy Spirit, in my next paperback called You Think You're Going to Heaven? It's something every serious Christian needs to understand.

On Saturday, I'll post about Billy Joel and his brilliantly-written song regarding history.

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