Foundations: Baptism

Hebrews 6:1-2 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

We are still looking at the elementary doctrine of Christ to make sure we have a firm foundation. Our next foundation is baptism.

In Acts, where we have our examples of people coming to faith in Christ, baptism is part of what happens. Read these verses.

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.”

Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 16:30-33 (The beginning of this is happening around midnight and it all takes place before morning.) Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

There is no prayer of salvation in the Bible. There was baptism. It was so important that the whole family was baptized in the middle of the night. What makes it so important? In Acts 16, it says to be baptized and wash away your sins.

We know that salvation is by faith, not by works. You can’t get dunked underwater to get your sins forgiven. But also remember, faith without works is dead. Baptism is a way to show your faith. It’s a work of faith. What are we believing when we are baptized? Please read these verses about baptism. What does it say baptism is?

Colossians 2:11-12 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Those verses were describing baptism like a cutting off of the flesh and burying the flesh. What do the next verses say about baptism?

Romans 6:2a-6 How can we who died to sin still live in it? 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. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

These verses say we die with Christ in baptism and that those who are dead are no longer slaves to sin. Both sections of scripture talk about baptism also being our resurrection, being raised to new life in Christ. It’s by baptism, our joining Jesus in death and resurrection by faith, that we can then say, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

This is all by faith. The water doesn’t do it. It’s the obedient act of faith by being baptized, calling on the name of Jesus, that produces the life change.

All of us who came to Christ through prayer are still saved. God’s big enough to take our faith where we have it, but this is what He chose for His people. Being baptized by being laid down in the water like you are being laid in a grave is the most symbolic way of being baptized for what it is accomplishing in you. Personally, I had my husband baptize me after I gained this understanding of what baptism really was (even though I had previously been baptized).

I asked him to baptize me in the name of the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, so that the name of Jesus was said, since in Acts it talks about being baptized in His name. Some just use the name of Jesus. Before I went under I said, “I choose to identify with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection so that I can say I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Of course, this isn’t a formula. I’m just giving my example to encourage those who feel like they have no example.

If you have not been baptized, or only as a baby, I would encourage you to do so. Any Spirit-filled believer can baptize you, but again, it’s the faith that’s most important, not the details. I would encourage you, though, to consider the biblical example.

Lesson Point: Baptism was the way people entered into salvation through faith, putting to death their old life and raising to new life in Christ.

Challenge Question: Do you have faith that you no longer live but Christ lives in you?