Not too long ago, I published a blog post about baptism. In it I wrote that baptism isn’t a requirement for salvation, but an act of obedience after salvation (To read that post click HERE!).
I read something today, written by Dr. Charles Stanley, that really spoke to me about the importance of being obedient after salvation. He wrote in a devotion, published by InTouch Ministries, that when Jesus was baptized He was “sacrificially identifying with sinful humankind”.
Here is the full text of that devotion, Baptism: Identifying with Christ.
Christ began His public ministry with baptism. At the time, John the Baptist was calling people to confess their sins and demonstrate repentance through immersion in the river. So why did Jesus, the sinless One, ask to be baptized? At first, John actually refused, knowing Christ was the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). But Jesus wasn't demonstrating repentance; He was sacrificially identifying with sinful humankind.
Matthew 3:13-17 (NLT)13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
As Christians, we're called to follow His example in all things, becoming more like Him as we grow in our faith. That's why baptism is the first step in following Jesus. As He was willing to identify Himself with us, we publicly identify with Him when we are baptized, which is a symbolic way of declaring, "I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior and believe that the debt of my sin is fully paid through His sacrifice. I believe that as He rose from the dead, I will also be resurrected through Him. I look forward to walking in God's will while I'm on the earth and living with Him throughout eternity. Since He loved me enough to identify Himself with me in my sin, I will show my love for Him by following His example right now, and for the rest of my days."
Baptism demonstrates our connection not only with Christ but also with our spiritual brothers and sisters--past, present, and future. We're joining everyone who has walked before us in faith, saying that we are members of one body, redeemed and brought to life by the same Lord.
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
Baptism is not necessary for salvation only Jesus can save us. But baptism is very important because it’s an act of obedience after salvation. It identifies us with Christ just as His baptism identified Him with us.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.