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The Great Commission-Part III

Baptism by Water

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

We are looking at a devotional series titled, The Great Commission. In Part II we looked at what a person must do to be baptized, and we looked at what the word “baptize” means. In today's devotional we will continue to look at God’s commandment of water baptism, as we look at the reasons why we should be baptized, as well as some misconceptions about baptism. Let’s first look at three reasons why we should be baptized:

1.             We are to be baptized out of obedience.  We see throughout the New Testament that water baptism was practiced immediately following conversion. This was done in direct response to Jesus’ command that Christians are to “preach” and then they are to “baptize” (Mk 16:15, 16). So if you have believed in Christ as Lord and Savior, then in obedience you should be baptized.

2.            We are to be baptized as a statement of faith. Water baptism is an outward statement of one’s belief in Christ Jesus’ atonement for our sins. The act of going under water during baptism, symbolizes being buried in death. It is a symbol of our dying to our old life and resurrecting in our new life (See Romans 6:1-4). It demonstrates an outward sign of an inward change.

3.            We are to be baptized as a public testimony. Water baptism was practiced publicly in the New Testament as an example, because it is a very powerful and meaningful way to confess and make a public testimony of our faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32 (NKJV)

Now that we know why we should be baptized, let’s look at some popular misconceptions about water baptism.

Water baptism cannot save anyone:  Salvation comes from grace alone, and that through faith; not of works lest anyone boast (See Eph 2:8, 9). Our Lord Jesus was telling us that we are in need of only one release from the bondage of sin and this release or "redemption" was provided by His death in our place and appropriated by us through our faith in Him (Col.2:13-14). Since baptism is only for believers who profess faith in Christ, it would exclude infants since they can’t make their own profession.

Our sins are not washed away through water baptism. Water baptism cannot cleanse us from our sins. The cleansing of our sin takes place when we believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and ask Him to forgive us and cleanse us of our sin (See 1 John 1:9). This is the "bath" or cleansing from sin, which has already been accomplished and it does not need to be repeated. We do, however, continue to commit acts of personal sin as believers, and therefore we should continually be washed by confessing our sins to God.

You must be baptized into a specific denomination to be saved. There is no one church organization that you need to be baptized into; we are all baptized into the Body of Christ when we are baptized. If the church you attend believes in Christ's atoning work upon the cross alone for one's salvation, is faithful to the scriptures and the truth of the gospel, then baptism is right before God. If the group denies the truth of the gospel and salvation by faith through grace (Eph. 2:8-9), or demands baptism be done only through them, then you might want to pray about choosing to be baptized with another group of believers.

Water baptism cannot set us free from our sinful fleshly habits. When we are saved, we are given the Holy Spirit as a helper (John 14:16-17, 26). With Him, come the benefits of self-control, holiness and moral purity to name a few. The Holy Spirit transforms us, as He leads us and empowers us to understand and abide in the Word of God. As we are baptized, we are making a public statement that we are going to live free from any controlling passion that led us out of the will of God. We must understand that baptism by itself possesses no magical power to free us from the temptations we will face in the flesh. It simply is telling others that you are willingly submitting your life to the Lord and that you are coming into agreement with His plan for your life.

I personally believe it is clear from the teachings of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:18-20, we are to be baptized. Knowing God commanded it should settle in our heart any argument against being baptized. Being baptized isn’t about legalism or religion—it’s about love—a love for Jesus.

STUDY QUESTION: According to Matthew 10:32, what did Jesus say about our confessing Him before men?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you fully understand the reasons as to why we should be baptized publicly?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: If you have not yet made a public profession of faith, then I would encourage you to pray about being baptized! If you are already baptized, then share this information with others that you may know who are not baptized, or who may be blessed by knowing the Great Commission.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY:  Father, I thank You for Your word—for the truths clearly seen and learned from studying it daily. Lord, continue to lead me into all truth and understanding of Your word as I continue to read and study it. Lead me in all knowledge and wisdom, and help me to apply it to my life. In Jesus’ precious name, amen…

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000