If you were a staunch conservative and then you showed up at a liberal rally, waving a banner for the liberal candidate, you would really be saying: “Attention please: I’ve changed sides.”
Perhaps you have been thinking in recent weeks:
“Things are so different now. I’m noticing things I never noticed before. I’ve heard swearing all my life but I never thought much of it. Sure, there were times when I asked someone to cool it because it was a bit excessive but it’s never really been an issue. Since I became a Christian, I’m noticing things I never noticed before. I used to say, ‘Oh my God’ all the time or post ‘OMG’ and think it was nothing more than a figure of speech. Now, when I hear ‘Jesus’ or ‘Christ’ I cringe and think: “He’s my Saviour!” I understand now that it’s a sin to use the Lord’s Name lightly or wrongly. Now I really get offended when I hear His Name used as a swear word and I get bothered when someone tells a dirty joke. It’s like I changed sides and now I’m on God’s side.”
That’s exactly what happened the moment you turned your back on your sins and embraced Christ as your Saviour. You did change sides. You are now in God’s family. That was an internal and invisible transaction between you and God. Not even your closest friend could see what went on in your heart. You’re on the side of all those who love Jesus and have surrendered to Him as their Lord.
Before Jesus went back to Heaven, He told His disciples to preach the Gospel to everyone and when anyone ‘believed’ they were to be baptized. (Matthew 28:19)
Believer’s baptism is an external, visible and public act for friends and family to observe, announcing the fact that you have changed sides and now belong to Christ.
In the Bible, a jail manager, who survived an earthquake, turned to Christ for salvation. That very night he was baptized as a believer. (Acts 16:23-33) A high-ranking official in the Ethiopian Government was returning home after a trip and he was thoughtfully reading Isaiah 53. No doubt he was looking for peace and wanting to be right with God. In his chariot, he understood Jesus died for his sins, and without hesitation, he stopped his entourage and went down into the water and was baptized. (Acts 8:27-39)
The Lord expects every Christian to be publicly identified with Christ, by being baptized. If you were to look up the meaning of believer’s baptism in the Bible, you would learn that it means to be completely immersed in water — submerged (burial)and then brought up again (resurrected). It’s not a sprinkling or a pouring.
Believer’s baptism reminds us of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His death on the Cross – was really His death for you. Symbolically it’s like saying to your family and friends: “The old me is dead and all my past is dead and buried. And I’m now living in Christ. He is my new life. I am a Christian and I want you all to know that I love Christ and plan to follow Him the rest of my life.”
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4 NASB
Using the term baptism, the internal and spiritual transaction when you first trusted Christ was the moment you were baptized into Christ Jesus. (vs.3) Following that internal moment of salvation, the Lord expects a Christian to be outwardly baptized in water to show visibly to family and friends – what happened inside.
Christian water baptism is totally symbolic of an earlier inner experience between you and the Lord. What’s beautiful about baptism is – it’s an opportunity for you to obey one of the commands of Christ. The One who gave His life for your sins – now asks you to be baptized and to let the world know that you love Him and you want to follow Him.
When you decide to ‘go public’ with your allegiance to Christ, your baptism announces something like this to everybody who knows you:
“I confess before all of you that I am one with the Lord Jesus Christ who bore my sins, took my place, died for me and rose again. By my baptism, I confess in public that Christ is my personal Saviour and He is my Lord. I have surrendered to Him as the Lord of my life. He gave Himself for me; and I am happy to let all of you know by my baptism that I belong to Him.”
Believer’s baptism is a step of obedience to Christ who commands followers to be baptized and a sign of allegiance to Christ. It’s a signal to your friends that you have been spiritually changed and they will see that change in your life by the new choices you make.
- Underline in your Bible Romans 6:3-4
- Continue to pray about honouring and pleasing Christ by being baptized as a new Christian.