Baptism is not a mere sign
Sometimes Christian argue, “If baptism is a mere sign, and if it does not regenerate or justify, why should we baptize at all? It is completely useless.” The answer is that through baptism, God bestows great spiritual blessings to the believer.
Like the written Word (which in its ultimate analysis is also a sign), baptism is a God-given means of revealing Himself to His people. We are blessed when we receive God’s truth by faith and obedience. Neither the Word nor the sacraments confer any spiritual blessing in a magical or automatic manner. The Bible would be of no benefit to me if I simply hear or read it without believing and obeying God’s commands and promises. “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it” ( Heb 4:2). Thus, James also warns us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
So why should we baptize ? Baptism is God’s Word in a living and dramatic form. When a Christian understands the meaning of baptism, believing the great transformation that has occurred in his life, and obeys its message, baptism becomes the means of grace and life. Thus the apostle Paul first reminds us what baptism really means:
“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? 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” ( Rom 6:3, 4).
Baptism means that believers are united with Christ. His death is their death; His resurrection life is their life. Then the apostle Paul applies this great Gospel truth in a practical way:
“In the same way count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:11-13).
So the answer to the question ” why should we baptize ” is : Baptism is not the means by which we receive salvation. We are forgiven and purified by faith in Christ, followed by baptism to signify that amazing reality. Every professing Christian should be careful not to be deceived in thinking that he is right with God simply because he or she had been baptised – one could be baptised and still be lost. On the other hand, for every true believer, baptism is God’s sign of his saving union with Christ and baptism carries in it all the AUTHORITY, GRACE, PRESENCE and blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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