Before I get started, I will like to state that I, in no way, believe that baptism is required for salvation and salvation is only through Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). With that disclaimer out the way, I do want to show why baptism is an important step of obedience for all those who are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The baptism of Jesus is recorded in the Gospel accounts of Matthew (chapter 3:13-17), Mark (chapter 1:9 -11) and Luke (chapter 3:21-22). Many have debated why exactly Jesus got baptized, but whatever the reason may have been, Jesus commanded us in the Great Commission (Matt 28:19) to do likewise. So for us, through baptism by immersion, we identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus (Romans 6:3-4) and also at the same time it is symbolic to our death to sin and new life we have in Christ (Romans 6:11, Colossians 2:12). That is the essential reason why baptism is important, but I also want to explain some other reasons for baptism. To help illustrate the importance of baptism, I want to compare it to that of a wedding.
Wedding: A wedding is a ceremony for man and woman to publicly declare their private decision of lifelong commitment of love.
Baptism: Baptism, in the same manner, is a ceremony of a public declaration of a person’s inward decision to commit their life to Christ. The very act itself is something that mirrors His death, burial, and resurrection.
Wedding: With the public declaration, a wedding affirms before all those present to the lifelong commitment that is being made by the couple. While the guests present at the wedding are there to share the special occasion, they also serve as accountability to hold you to the vows that were made.
Baptism: Just like a wedding, the witnesses present at a baptism are there to share in the joyous occasion, but at the same time too, they can be there to help hold one another accountable to the declaration of leaving the old life behind and starting a new life in Christ.
After the ceremony
Wedding: Unfortunately with weddings ceremonies, the couple sometimes believes the work is done and they do not think much about the actual lifetime commitment of marriage that follows. It does not take for a person to be married to know that marriage is not all smooth sailing and along the journey, you will hit hard times. So it’s important to press forward and honor the vows that were made at the wedding.
Baptism: Baptism is not necessarily the culmination of faith; rather it’s more like a commencement of the journey of faith for a believer. After baptisms, some neglect the duties of being a servant of Righteousness and soon find themselves not being fruitful for the kingdom of God. While the journey afterwards will get rough at times, we should do like Paul and continue to “press towards the mark” with the prize of Christ Jesus in mind (Philippians 3:14).
So, whether you’re a new believer or been a believer for some time and have not decided to get baptized yet, we hope this is something you will consider. While baptism is a joyous occasion that a person uses to signify their conversion, it is only the beginning. If one is still on the fringe about getting baptized, we hope you will study more about baptism in the Bible, pray about it (James 1:5), and discuss it with a mature believer who can point you in the right direction.
Grace & Peace!