WATER BAPTISM (V)
The significance of the sacrament of baptism is stated plainly in Romans 6:1-5. Christian baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It is through the Gospel of His death, burial and resurrection that we have the cleansing of our sins and the newness of life imparted to us in regeneration (1 Cor 15:1-4).
In Romans 6:1-5, when Jesus was “buried” (v 4), He was not put down in the ground and covered up. His body was carried into a rock-hewn sepulchre and, doubtless, laid upon a niche or shelf as the custom was. The physical nature of His burial in no way resembled immersion in water. The word “planted” (v 5) does not mean to plant by putting into the ground, but the word is from phuo, to sprout forth. The beginning of our Christian life, its germination, was in the acceptance of the death of Christ on the cross.
Baptism directly signifies our acceptance of the atonement of Christ accomplished on the cross. But since it is through the atonement that sin is remitted, or cleansed away, it is entirely appropriate that baptism should be referred to as a “cleansing” or a “washing.” Peter said on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). Baptism signifies the remission of sins through the atonement which Christ accomplished as that atonement is applied to us by the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 22:16; 1 John 1:7).
THOUGHT: Whether immersion or sprinkling, Baptist or Presbyterian, let there be no division over the mode of baptism, but a mutual love and respect for one another in the Lord.
PRAYER: Lord, teach me Thy truth and Thy way.