Baptism Weekend Devotional Day 5
DAY 5 – Friday
Baptism: Mark 16:16, Luke 23:40-43, Luke 3:16, Matt. 28:18-20
What is baptism? Why do we do it?
How many times in verse 16 does it say “believe”? Two times. We can glance at this scripture with a casual eye and think it’s saying “sinners must be baptized to be saved”. This is not true. This misinterpretation disappears when you note the emphasis on believing. In this passage, Jesus is saying condemnation is on the person who does not believe. So even though someone has been baptized, if they don’t believe in their heart, baptism doesn’t save. Salvation rests on belief!
When asking someone about their faith, I have heard: “well, I was baptized…”. Sometimes the implication of that comment is that a person was baptized but never believed (and doesn’t really want to!). But remember the thief on the cross? (Read the Luke passage above.) His heart believed in Jesus and that’s what led to salvation. The thief was never baptized. Do you see my point? Baptism doesn’t save; believing does. (Read Romans for a complete analysis.) At the same time, baptism is not to be considered a non-essential. It is not essential to salvation, but rather to obedience!
In Matthew 28:18-20, we read: “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go 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 obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
Let’s break it down. Jesus commands, “make disciples”. Firstly we see that disciples are made, not spontaneously created at conversion. “Of all nations”, no one is left out. Every corner of the earth is to have disciples of Jesus. “Baptize them”, not circumcise them. Circumcision was the old covenant that showed the children of Israel were God’s chosen people. Now it is baptism. “In the name” literally means into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Name”, not names, indicating the unity of the Trinity. “Teaching them”—disciples are made through teaching with the power of the always present Holy Spirit. “I am with you to the very end of the age”—Jesus sent his disciples out with a mission to fulfill, but he did not send them alone.
In 1 Cor. 3:9, Paul wrote, we are God’s fellow workers. We work with him in all our service. How do you feel about being fellow workers with Christ? How do you see baptism? Have you been baptized? Do you see it as a mark of obedience and love for Christ?