Believer’s Baptism

This article was the basis for Pastor Mark Perry’s Family Bible Forum at Westerville Bible Church this past Sunday.

Like communion, believer’s baptism is commanded of every believer and administered by the church. While communion reminds us of Jesus’ death, baptism emphasizes his resurrection and our union with him, being raised to “walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4).

Believer’s baptism is a time for every believer to focus on his relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • Believer’s baptism is an ordinance (commanded by Jesus Christ): “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19).
  • Believer’s baptism is for believers: baptism follows becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ (Matt 28:19), as the book of Acts abundantly records (Acts 2:41; 8:12, 36; 9:18; 10:47–48; 16:14–15, 33; 18:8; 19:5).
  • Believer’s baptism is a symbol: it is a physical picture of the spiritual reality of a believer’s spiritual union with Christ at conversion.

Believer’s baptism is matter of obedience and identification.

  • Because Christ commanded His disciples to be baptized (Matt 28:19), believers gladly obey Him by submitting to water baptism.
  • Because every believer has been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13), he is united with Christ. Water baptism is a public testimony of the believer’s individual identification with Christ.

Believer’s baptism publicly declares identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

  • Baptism is a memorial of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in His atoning work (Rom 6:3–4). It is a reminder of the believer’s salvation from the penalty of sin—those who are “in Christ” enjoy forgiveness of sin because of the death of Christ.
  • Baptism is a symbol of the believer’s union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:4; Col 2:12). It is a picture of the believer’s victory in his struggle against sin in his daily life—those who are “in Christ” are no longer enslaved to sin because they are living a new life in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
  • Baptism is a prophecy of the believer’s bodily resurrection: just as Christ rose from the dead, so we shall also rise (Rom 6:5; Col 2:12; 3:1, 4). It is a promise of the believer’s future freedom from the presence and effects of sin—those who are “in Christ” will one day receive perfect bodies that are free from sin.