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Resurrection and New Life 15: Resurrection Pictured in Baptism

Resurrection and New Life Day 15 – Resurrection Pictured in Baptism

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4, ESV)

Our theme for this month has been Resurrection, rising from the dead. Earlier this month we celebrated Easter, a Christian holiday to remember the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Today, we are looking at baptism, which has varied definitions, depending on someone’s religious affiliation. According to Scripture, though, baptism symbolizes what happened when a sinner came to Christ; it is a public declaration that they have linked themselves to Him.

Before we dig in further, let’s talk about a few often-misunderstood facts about baptism. Baptism is not required for entrance into heaven; the only requirement is personal faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The thief on the cross came to faith while hanging beside Jesus, right before death claimed him. Yet Jesus promised him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). There was no time for baptism, showing that faith alone in Christ is all that’s required for entering heaven.

Baptism is a personal decision, not to be made by parents or anyone else. It isn’t for dedication of infants. While God desires that we raise our children with rich exposure to His Word and to our faith, baptism isn’t meant to seal infants for a holy life. We never read in the New Testament of the early Church practicing that ritual. Baptism in Scripture always followed a personal faith in Christ.

But how does baptism picture resurrection? When someone is saved (or comes to faith in Christ), they become a new creation in Christ. The old part of them is now as good as dead—the part that was a lost sinner. We see this in what we often refer to as the fruit of the Spirit, the evidence that His Spirit now lives in us. Whereas we once saw someone who lived in a way that embraced the ways of this world, we should now see one who is changed. Maybe they had filthy language, but no longer do. Maybe they were the life of the party and always got drunk, but now they have no interest in that lifestyle. Or maybe they were a known player, stringing along woman after woman, breaking heart after heart. Now? Their eyes don’t stray from the one true love of their life. How is this change possible? It’s the transformative work of Christ within.

Baptism is a burial and a resurrection. When we are lowered into the water—fully immersed—we are buried under it. As we are lifted up again, we rise from the water. In all this we are showing what happened at salvation, that as we were dead in our sins, we then came forth a new creation in Christ, rising to newness of life. In baptism we are identifying with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.While baptism isn’t required for us to enter heaven, it is a command given to us in Scripture. Choosing to be baptized is one way we can honor the Lord with our obedience. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior and have not yet been baptized, choosing to obey Him in this way, proclaiming to others what has taken place in your life, would be God-honoring and would greatly please Him. Those of us who have been baptized must understand the responsibility we have to live our lives dead to sin. While it’s impossible for us to live a sinless life, our testimony should be one that honors the Lord and not one that brings shame to His Name.

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