This is a short devotional formatted to fit a church bulletin page (in a large print font) which churches may freely reproduce, if the blog address is cited.
What is baptism? Is it something which must be done to infants to keep them from hell in case they die? Is it something you do for salvation? Is it like a kindergarten graduation ceremony or a birthday party to make someone feel special? Baptism is too often misunderstood and underappreciated by the Church, even by us Baptists who carry its namesake.
The first urgency, the first order of business for a new follower of Jesus, is to obey his command to be baptized. Baptism is not optional. Nor is it to be deferred for the sake of one's personal feelings or preferences. If one fails to be obedient to this first command, what is the point of following Jesus at all?
Yet, baptism is not something which saves. Rather, it is for the person who is already saved. It is for those who have already decided to follow Jesus.
Indeed, baptism is a person's declaration to the world: "I am a Christian. I follow Jesus. I pledge my life and devotion to him." As such, baptism is not a private event. It is a public event, to be undertaken before many witnesses.
Moreover, baptism is a multifaceted symbol: 1) the washing away of sins through faith in Christ; 2) the dying and burial of the old life, and the begin-ning of the new life; 3) the placement of a person into the family of God, the Church.
If you are already a believer but have not received believer's baptism, why don't you join us down at the water to pray?