In my mind, Going Public on New Year’s Day by being baptized is a great way to start the New Year, but I think some of you are doubters. It can be intimidating, being in front of a good size crowd, shuffling around in a large pool of water and such. But if you have never confessed your faith in Christ by being baptized by immersion I challenge you to step up, overcome your fears and be baptized on January 1.
Why would you want to do that? Let me offer up some thoughts. The various Christian traditions hold different convictions about baptism, but they all believe it is important because they all accept that Christ commanded us to be baptized. They also believe the way you are baptized matters. So why do we baptized the way we do?
First, let’s talk about WHO we baptize. We only baptize those who have already made a personal decision to believe in Christ. Obviously, this rules out infant baptism. The reason we hold this conviction is that in every instance in the New Testament, baptism was a post-belief experience. And there is a good reason for that, which gets into HOW we baptize.
We practice total immersion. That’s right, the complete faith plunge. You see, baptism is an act of confession: a confession of our faith in Christ, and a confession of what we have experienced because of our faith. In regards to the latter, when a person becomes a believer in Christ a transformation takes place which the bible describes in various ways: being born again (John 3) or becoming a new creature (2 Corinthians 5). Romans 6 describes it as being buried with Christ in His death and being resurrected with Him into life. This is where the HOW of baptism comes into play. Being lowered into the water and being raised back up symbolizes dying with Christ to sin and being resurrected to a new life in Christ. And so we immerse.
Now, let me echo Christ’s challenge. He said that those who confess Him before others, He will confess before the Father. If you haven’t obediently confessed your faith in Christ by being baptized, start out 2017 doing just that. Go Public. Christ is willing to go public about you before the Father.