What Is The Meaning Of Baptism?
Baptism is an outward sign of the inward experience of new birth. It represents the realization that a miracle has taken place. It means you can say: “I once was blind but now I see...I once was lost but now I’m found...I once was dead but now I’m alive—ALL BECAUSE OF JESUS.
Going under the water symbolizes our connection with Jesus in his death and burial—the end of our old life. Our rising from the water signifies our union with Christ in his glorious resurrection—the old me has passed away, behold all things have been made new (2 Corinthians 5). Baptism makes the gospel visible- serving as a visible testimony of our faith in Jesus’ saving work for us in his death and resurrection.
Baptism is also a public profession of faith
demonstrating our admission to the world that we are a sinner, guilty before God and without hope of making ourselves acceptable or righteous in God's sight. Baptism is the exclamation point at the end of the sentence “I am no longer defined by the sins of my past, or the sins of others against me, or of my besetting sins in the present, or of my struggles with sin in the future!
My hope of standing righteous before God lives—not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died and rose again. “Jesus commands my destiny” as the old hymn says! The cross has the last word. In other words, because Jesus received the penalty for our sins in his death we now know we have been saved from God’s judgment in the future. Flowing from the good news of our justification (righteous standing before God and forgiveness of sins through the grace of God in Christ) flows the good news of our sanctification (Jesus died to sin so we can put sin to death).
There can be no acceptance of Jesus’ salvation without a previous forsaking of sin (repentance/ renouncing our sinful ways) and an unqualified commitment to follow Christ as Lord
(Mark 8:34-38; Luke 9:23-27; John 12:24-26; Luke 14; Matthew 13:44).