So, how does Baptism fit into Christianity? What does the Bible say about it?
I feel like this is one of those topics a lot of people have some pretty big misconceptions about. On the one hand, you have people who say it's a necessary component of salvation, and on the other you have people who just kind of ignore it as something not really that important.
So... which is it?
As a Southern Baptist, I come from the belief that it's neither one. No, it's not something you have to do in order to be saved (last I checked, Romans 10:9 and 1 John 1:9 have no mention of baptism). But I don't think it's something to just be thrown aside either. Check out what Peter said in his famous sermon at Pentecost...
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 2:38 ESV
So here, it seems to be a little different. It seems to imply that Baptism does have some kind of a connection to salvation. So, what it is? Well, we see more clearly just a few verses later...
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
- Acts 2:41 ESV
Notice the order of this chain of events: first they received God's word, then they were baptized. We see here that Baptism is related closely to salvation, in that it's meant to come after someone gets saved.
To me, it seems like getting saved is like getting engaged to Jesus. It says in Ephesians 5 that marriage is symbolic of our relationship with Jesus...
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
- Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV
And, according to Revelation 19, the wedding will be when Jesus returns - so right now we're in the engagement period.
But what's one thing we often think of when we hear the word "engagement"? What's that one thing that signifies this period of waiting and preperation?
The Engagement Ring!
In the same way, Baptism is meant to be the engagement ring of the church. No, it it's not what makes you married to Christ (i.e. "saved"), but it is what shows others that you're committed to Him, and no one else.
Getting saved but not getting baptized is like getting engaged but not accepting the ring - which is not how things are supposed to be. So I'd like to challenge you, if you're saved, to get baptized! No, it doesn't save you or "wash you of your sins" - but it simply shows the world that serious about your walk with the Lord. It shows everyone that you're serious about... Jesus.
What do you think? Is Baptism an important part of the Christian life? Let me know in the comments section below!