What is Baptism?
We will find this command in the Gospel of Mark 16:15-16: “And Jesus said to them, Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."
It is important that we understand the act of baptism in the church.
Romans 10:8-10 tells us: “What does the Word say? The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart…that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that is you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
We are to confess with our mouth that we believe with all our heart Jesus is Lord.
We are to confess publically that we believe Jesus is the Son of God.
We are to confess publically that we believe God raised Jesus from the dead.
We are to confess publically that we believe, through the blood of Jesus, we are saved to an eternal heaven.
So, where does baptism come as an act in our salvation?
Baptism is not the act of salvation; baptism is the completion of a person’s confession of faith and the first act of obedience to Christ.
In the Old Testament, during the Exodus of the Israelites from the bondage of slavery, God told Moses to have the people “wash” themselves so He could speak to them.
This was a shadow of the act of baptism.
When Ezekiel prophesied about the New Testament reality of a person’s washing through baptism, he said this: ---
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and I will move you to observe My ordinances.” (Ezk 36:25-27)
Baptism is more than a ritual for the church; baptism is the day that God blesses a person’s confession of faith.