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Welcome to the Pastor's Desk of
Senior Pastor Frank Douglas


 

The Biblical Significance of Water Baptism

(Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 6:1-14)


 

Water baptism has been practiced throughout the annals of Church history.  Many obscure discourses have been written and debated as to whether water baptism washes away sin; whether baptism is a sacrament; what type of baptism is acceptable – immersion versus sprinkling with water; among many other debates. 

Let me quickly point out that this article is not about adding to the debate to settle any of these discourses.  The purpose of this article is to briefly explore a short passage which augments the truth that water baptism is a public demonstration of a transformed life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the grace of God. 

There are many questions about water baptism.  Two of which are:  What is water baptism?  What is the significance of water baptism?  Let me answer the first question:  The English word “baptism” is derived from the Greek root word “bapto”.  The noun form of the word “baptisma”, gives us the English word “baptism”.  Within the New Testament canon of Scripture, “bapto” is used to denote “to cover wholly with a fluid or immerse in”.  Hence, in the ecclesiological context water baptism is to immerse a person in water, usually a new convert to the Christian faith. 

So, what is the significance of water baptism?  Let me revisit the Greek word “baptisma”.  The suffix “ma” indicates the result of the act of baptism, and refers to baptism as a formally established ordinance.  Hence, the act of water baptism is one of the fundamental ordinances of the Christian Church. 

Therefore, the significance of water baptism cannot be overemphasized.  Jesus Christ, the Messiah, sent into the world to execute God’s redemptive plan of salvation, submitted Himself to John the Baptist in water baptism (Luke 3:21-22).  Jesus gave the Christian Church an example to follow.  Jesus revisited the lesson of water baptism as He gave the Disciples the Great Commission.  Jesus instructs the Disciples and us:  “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19a, NIV)

Not only did the Disciples, who later became Apostles fulfill the Great Commission as they preached the Gospel, they practiced water baptism as an ordinance of the Church.  The Bible in the book of Acts reveals Phillip as an evangelist baptizing new converts.  Paul the Apostle also preached the Gospel and baptized new converts.  

As we explore Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he gives us a Biblical perspective of the significance of water baptism.  In Romans 6:3-4, Scripture states:  “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (NIV)

In essence Paul is amplifying the Biblical significance of water baptism, not only as a fundamental ordinance, but the true meaning thereof.  The Biblical significance of water baptism is intrinsically connected to the union which the Christian Believer who has been baptized, has with Jesus Christ. 

In addition, water baptism signifies the spiritual renewal of regeneration; the forgiveness of sins; the adoption by God and resurrection to eternal life.  Therefore, the Biblical significance of water baptism is interconnected with the reality that persons who enter into this ordinance, are publicly demonstrating their lives have been transformed by God’s grace.  They have repented of their sins and are converted.    

Finally, for many years, it is one of my greatest joys in ministry, to witness individuals who have come to faith in Jesus Christ and follow through in water baptism.  Today, as we celebrate this wonderful ordinance, rejoicing with these candidates who have presented themselves for water baptism.  Let me remind us this promised union in Jesus Christ is extended to all who believe the Gospel and accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

    


Pastor Frank Douglas

Lead Pastor






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