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Baptism is Done to Us

April 3, 2016

Matthew 3:17

 

As  Christians we are baptized.  How were you baptized?  Many churches have a baptismal font where the baby is held over it and  his head doused with water by the priest with the words:  “N., I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”  The Book of Common Prayer – The Episcopal Church

I never thought much about it until listening to Dr. Charles Stanley’s sermon on the:

Reasons to be Baptized

  1. It is commanded by Jesus.
  2. Public confession of your faith.
  3. It is a portrayal of what happened to you at salvation.
  4. You identify yourself with the body of Christ.
  5. It “drives a stake” to declare you are a follower of Jesus.
  6. It affirms your belief in Christ and the promise of a bodily resurrection.

Baptize means to immerse.  John the Baptist immersed Jesus in the water to baptize Him and that’s when The Heavenly Father sent a dove to represent the Holy Spirit and said, “This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!”

 

At BibleLessons.com Bob Williams helps us understand baptism from scripture in “A Study Of Baptism”.
 

The word baptize is from the Greek word baptizo, and the word baptism is from the Greek word batisma or baptismos. Together they are found 100 times in the New Testament. Thayer's Lexicon lists three primary meanings of the word baptize:

  1. to dip repeatedly, to immerge, submerge
  2. to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water
  3. metaphorically, to overwhelm

 

And repenting is doing something that God says we must do, and so is baptism. All these are things God says we must do in order to receive His grace. But none of these are meritorious works to earn salvation. Baptism, like faith, is also called a work, but it is the work of God. Colossians 2:12-13 says, "Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions."

In Titus 3:5, Paul said, "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit."

Baptism is actually the most passive act (or work) of faith required for salvation. Believing is something we must DO; repenting is something we must DO (and often a very hard thing to do); but baptism is something DONE TO US. It is merely submitting in faith to the working of God in our lives.

 

Matthew 3:13-17 records the event of Jesus coming to John to be baptized. While John had been baptizing people for the forgiveness of sins following their confession and repentance (Matthew 3:4ff; Mark 1:4ff), Jesus our Lord had no sins (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). When John questioned the purpose of Jesus coming to him for baptism, Jesus said, Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness. (Matthew 3:15).

Righteousness is equated with doing what is right, something God and Jesus always do. In particular, we know that Jesus came to this earth for the primary reason of obeying His Father and doing His will (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38-39). Whatever purpose God had in having His Son baptized, it is evident that Jesus did so to demonstrate the importance and necessity of obeying the will and commands of God.

As I sorted through my Bible holder given to me by my late cousin, Wendy Jones when I became an Eucharistic Minister, there was a piece of paper inside Meditations For Lay Eucharistic Ministers by Beth Maynard ISBN 0-8192-1770-0 inserted at a page about baptism. Now, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Massachusetts, Reverend Maynard writes, "...the font...is both a tomb, where your old self is buried, and a womb, where a new one is born. Passing through these waters gives us access, whether we consciously use it or not, to god's very life.  As you are brought into Christ, God's words to Him become God's word to you.  And if you have not ever heard them, stop and hear them now, "You are my beloved child. With you I am well pleased."

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