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11
Feb

What Does God Expect of Me? Part 3--Baptism

Posted by on in The Upward Call
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Baptism IllustrationIn the first two parts of this blog on “What Does God Expect of Me?”, we learned that God expects us to believe in His Son. This belief has to include action that leads to confession and repentance. Talking about the name of Jesus and repentance are both actions, they require us to do something. If you fail to do either one, it short circuits the plan God has for our redemption.

 

In a like manner, baptism is another element that is required to be obedient to God’s plan. Yet, many who teach about God’s plan today state that baptism cannot save you because we cannot “do” anything to secure our salvation. However, up to this point the things God has told us to do are all actions we take. Why would God expect baptism to be any different? God has commanded us to “do” something, but it is not us saving ourselves in baptism; instead, we are submitting to the plan of God for how and when He will save us. This is a great difference!

 

Let’s look at some of those differences between what is being commonly taught about baptism and what God’s Word says about it.

  1. Baptism is an action that all mankind is to do just as repentance and confession. If you look at all the conversions in early church from the book of Acts, you will see that all of those who wanted to obey the gospel of Christ were baptized. (Acts 2:41; 8:12; 8:13; 8:38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15; 16:33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16).
  2. Baptism is for the forgiveness of your sins. Acts 2:38, “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” It is the demarcation point for two things: the forgiveness of your sins and the beginning of your new relationship with God. Forgiveness does not come at the point of belief; on the other hand, belief encourages you to continue your pursuit of God and obedience to His will until the point of baptism where you are saved from your sins (1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16).
  3. Baptism is not symbolic of salvation that has already taken place. Paul explains in Romans 6:3-6 that in baptism we are mimicking the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ so that we can become a new person in Christ. While this teaching talks about the symbolism of our connection to Christ, the salvation that comes with baptism is not symbolic or an outward expression of an inner grace that has already occurred. We are not baptized to join the church; we are not baptized to show others we are serious about our belief in Christ; instead, we are baptized to remove our sins and be in Christ, or as Galatians 3:27 says, “to put on Christ.”

 If we are baptized for any other reason or with any other understanding, then we are not following God’s will as He directs us in the Bible. To do what God expects of me, we must be baptized as He instructs and only as He instructs.

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