Today we have the joy of seeing James and Jaiden be baptised. But why would these two young men do something as strange as go into a tank of water with their clothes on in front of a whole bunch of witnesses? It doesn’t appear to be a particularly masculine thing to do.
Both James and Jaiden are affirming today that something very peculiar has happened inside them: they have died and come to life!
The Bible teaches that when you trust in Jesus Christ, you die with Christ and live in him. Speaking of Jesus, Paul says: ‘The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 6:10-11).
What Paul means is that Christians deserved death and eternal destruction as the penalty for their sin. But then Jesus came and sacrificially died the death that they deserve. The Christian then has this death of Christ applied to them by faith.
And not only that, but the Christian now has eternal life as Christ has eternal life. Jesus was resurrected from the dead and every Christian will be resurrected too. The Christian may die an earthly death, but that will simply be a transition from one existence to another – an earthly home to a heavenly home.
Jesus teaches this when he speaks to his friend Martha. ‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”’ (John 11:25-26).
But what does dying with Christ and being raised with Christ have to do with baptism?
The Christian’s physical baptism in water symbolises the inward death, burial and resurrection of the Christian. Just as the Christian has been spiritually baptised by faith, so he is physically baptised to proclaim that spiritual baptism. Paul taught this in his letter to the church in Rome: ‘2 We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection’ (Romans 6:2-5).
This is part of the reason Baptists fully immerse Christians. We want to declare to the watching world that we haven’t been sprinkled by Christ’s blood, we have been immersed in it! As we go down into the water we are buried in a watery grave. But we don’t stay there – we come up again in newness of life!
But remember that we are not baptised in water to be baptised spiritually. Rather, because we are already spiritually baptised into Christ’s death by faith, we are baptised physically.
That means if you want to be baptised into Christ’s death and have eternal life today, all you have to do is trust in him.
So do you trust in Jesus Christ and have eternal life?