Tomorrow during our church service we are going to have a baptism. Miss Anna Knapp will be baptized and we will get to observe her baptism and celebrate with her. I'm looking forward to this and I've been thinking about baptism because of what Colossians chapter two has to say about baptism.
Some in the church at Colosse were telling people that they needed to be circumcised to belong in the body of Christ. Paul flatly denies that idea, saying that baptism, not circumcision, is the ceremonial sign of the covenant and the sign of belonging to the people of the covenant.
"... having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins," Colossians 2:12-13
Baptism is a beautiful symbol of what Christ accomplished for us at the cross. Baptism does NOT save you but is something we do in response to our salvation as a declaration of what Christ has already done in us. The symbolism of baptism is rich and worthy of celebrating and that's what my church will do tomorrow.
We practice emersion baptism of people who have declared their faith in Jesus. During baptism we say, "Crucified and buried with Christ and raised to walk in new life!" I want to look at the passage from Colossians and see why we say this.
"Having been buried with Him in baptism..."
Baptism is a picture that says Christ death and burial is my death and burial. Count how my times the Apostle Paul says "in Christ" or "with Christ" in the letter to the Colossians. It is astounding. Baptism is a symbol that Christ died to pay the penalty of my sins past, present and future. Christians proclaim "It is finished!" at baptism. There is nothing more we need to do to fulfill the penalty of sin or the obligations of the law because in Christ it has already been done. We have been buried with Jesus in baptism.
"... and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead."
In baptism we shout that we have new life, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." 2 Corinthians 5:17. We no longer have to be slaves to sin and to the new old self, we have been made a new creation, one that can live for Jesus. We were raised to new life through our faith, not works, in the power of God. Though we were dead the same God who raised Jesus raises us! Buried with Christ is like saying your sins are forgiven, raised with Christ is like saying go and sin no more.
Baptism is a rich symbol and something to be celebrated. Though I don't agree with how the Lutherans do baptism, I do love what they often say during an infant baptism. They say, "Remember your baptism." Now, how on earth I'm supposed to remember something I did as an infant, I don't know; but I love "Remember your baptism." I want my church to celebrate that Anna is getting baptized tomorrow, but I also want us to remember our baptisms, too. I will spend time tomorrow reflecting on how what Anna is proclaiming for herself, I can claim for myself, too. I was crucified and buried with Christ and raised to walk in new life.
If you're a believer and have never been baptized, I highly encourage you to do so in obedience to the Bible. If you were baptized as a baby, like Anna and my wife, and want to be baptized after having pledged yourself to God, I encourage you to do it. For those of us that have been baptized already, remember your baptism today.