“Baptism: Principles & Practices” – Part 2 (5 Jul 2015)

In June’s Koinonia Sunday, I wrote on the basic of baptism drawing from the scripture passage of Romans 6. 

Today, we will ask ourselves the question, “Why should we be baptized?”

Baptism is one of the two ordinances that scriptures have commanded us to observe.  The other being the observance of the Lord’s Supper (some term it as Holy Communion or Breaking of Bread Service).

As the Lord is about to depart from the earth, He told the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20 “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”.

Baptism then:

  • Is a command of the Lord. It is not an option! If we are yet to be baptized, the instruction of the Lord is to us. Obey His command and submit to the testimony of the waters of baptism.
  • Is part of the doctrine that the Lord bid His disciples to teach. It is part of  the “observe all that” that the disciples were to teach the new converts.

In our engagement with believers in the Lord, we find that at times, there is a different perspective in the obeying of this ordinance that God has given to us through His Son.  Some view that by going through the waters of baptism, we are “now more real Christian than before”.  Such thinking is absolutely not the intent of the command that Jesus gave.

If we follow the accounts in the book of Acts, we will note that this ordinance teaching is not only communicated to new converts but was also part of the practice of the early church.  It applied to Jew and Gentile as stated in Acts 10:47 – “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

Baptism should give testimony to the change that has taken place within our hearts, the first day we turn to the Lord Jesus. Confessing our sins and having invited Jesus to come and have Him sit on the centre of our lives.  Baptism is an outward testimony on the inward change and that is why it is so important that our baptism shows that our lives are changed.

Scripture never envisages a believer that is not baptized, except, perhaps, those that are close to death when they are saved.  Baptism “saves us” because it represents inward faith.  Without faith, baptism does nothing more than removing “dirt from the body”. In 1 Peter 3:21, it goes on that it is an answer of än appeal to God, that is, a good conscience created by our salvation, and prompting us to follow the Lord in the waters of baptism.

In conclusion, it is our prayers that all our believing brothers and sisters in the Lord, that there should not be any delay, in obeying the ordinance of God.  Pray and get yourself ready for the next baptism service in December 2015 (or earlier if you want it !!)

Elder Andrew Lim