What’s the big deal about baptism?

This weekend we are celebrating baptism at Journey and I can’t wait! It can be a confusing thing that we do, so I thought I would post what it means and why we do it.

What is it?

Baptism is a symbol of choosing to become a follower of Jesus. It does not have any power beyond the power that comes from being obedient to Christ. It is demonstrating to others that you have died to sin and you are now alive because of Jesus.  You are saying to those around you, I have been forgiven by the grace of Jesus and I now belong to Him and will walk in His ways.

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Romans 6:4

Why do we do it?

As with many things from the Bible, we do it because Jesus told us to.  It can be a very freeing experience as you physically act out what Christ is doing inside of your heart.

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 Matthew 28:19

What if you don’t ever get baptized?

I am often asked if you have to be baptized to be saved. My answer is always, no.  Baptism is never a prerequisite for experiencing God’s grace.

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:9–11

The better question is to ask yourself, ‘Why not?’ If you have experienced the life giving grace from being forgiven for your sins and you believe that Jesus was tortured and murdered to secure that for you, why would you not tell others about this grace and your decision to follow Him? You are living in grace now and THAT is cause for celebration!

Am I more accountable if I get baptized?

This is another question I often receive.  Since baptism doesn’t make you more or less saved, it doesn’t make you any more or less accountable to God.  God knows your heart and baptism doesn’t change that.  You do have to take your faith seriously to be a follower and that does mean letting other people know that you are attempting to live your life following the example of Jesus.  That does take guts.  I hope you are part of a community that will celebrate this decision with grace and not just accountability.

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