by Graham Truscott
“It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15)
“WHY should we be baptized? Because the Lord Jesus commanded it. Because it is the second experience of THE ONLY FOUNDATION the Bible gives upon which we are to build our lives.
So deep is the spiritual meaning of water baptism, whole books could be written about it.
1. BAPTISM AND A CLEAR CONSCIENCE:
“God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal (answer) to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:20,21).
It is a historical and Biblical fact, that because of the sinfulness of mankind, God covered the whole earth with a flood of water, saving only Noah and his family in the ark. The earth was completely covered with water. Here the Bible says the immersing of the candidate in baptism “corresponds to this.”
How does baptism in water “answer to God for a clear conscience”? It means, in effect, that God is asking us if our conscience is clear. The Bible says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ . . . purify your conscience.” (Hebrews 9:14). If your sinful conscience has been washed in the blood of Christ and purified, you no longer feel guilty and ashamed to come into the presence of God. Your conscience is clear. Therefore in baptism you are answering God that your conscience has been purified by the blood of Christ and is now clear. Praise the Lord!
2. BAPTISM IS A TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD OF THE BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST:
“Baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3).
Each time someone is baptized in the Biblical way, they are testifying to the world that God’s son, Jesus Christ, was crucified on the cross, and shed His blood and died for their sins. His dead body was placed.in the grave. But He did not stay there. After three days He rose from the tomb, victorious over sin and death. Each time a believer is baptized, confessing faith in Him, public testimony is given to this glorious fact:
“We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
3. BAPTISM IS AN EXPERIENCE OF BURYING THE “OLD SINFUL MAN”:
It has often been said that “Baptism is an outward testimony of an inward experience.” It is. But it is much more than this! Baptism has an inward significance too! From a study of Romans, chapter 6 and Colossians, chapter 2, we see that there is a deep and precious identification of the believer with the Lord Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection, when water baptism takes place: