What Happens When Someone Is Baptized?
We all know how important baptism is, but sometimes we do not consider just how many things happen when someone is baptized into Christ. It is the most important moment in a person’s life. Baptism is the final step and condition in the plan of salvation. It is the actual moment that one’s faith, repentance, and confession lead up to. Many have compared it to the door that one walks through to their salvation. One becomes saved at the point of their baptism, but there are many things that happen at baptism that are involved in the act of being saved. I want us to consider some of those today, and it is my hope that it will help us all appreciate just how important baptism truly is.
1. At the point of our baptism, we enter “into Christ.” Many casual readers of the Bible do not realize the significance of the statement “in Christ.” These two words emphasize the relationship we enter into with Jesus when we are baptized. Paul wrote of “the salvation which is in Christ” (2 Tim. 2:10), and how God has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). At the point of Baptism we “become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21), and “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7). Paul used the expression “in Christ” some seventy times throughout his epistles to emphasize the importance of what happens when we are baptized into Jesus. And, we must remember that baptism is the only way mentioned in the Bible to get into Christ (Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:27).
2. At the point of our baptism, we can have a clear conscience before God. Peter stated there is a direct link between baptism and the point our conscience is cleared. He stated, “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism is the answer of a good conscience toward God because in the act of water baptism the blood of Jesus washes our sins away. The writer of Hebrews spoke of this when he said, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb. 10:22). Only with our sins forgiven can our conscience be clear before God.
3. At the point of our baptism, we are united together in the likeness of Jesus’ death. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome and said, “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” (Rom. 6:3,4). Baptism is the point where we die to sin as we die with Christ. It’s at this point we come into contact with the blood of Christ, which He shed at His death. Paul describes this as obeying “that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (Rom. 6:17). Baptism is the point where we are obeying the gospel as defined by Paul in 1st Corinthians 15:3,4 as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Our baptism is reliving what happened on the cruel cross two thousand years ago on the most important day the world has ever seen. Each Christian re-enacts that moment when they are saved. It is not an “outward sign of an inward faith” as some would claim, but instead it is the actual point where we die to sin so we can rise from the waters to walk in the newness of life. -Ed