How often do we forget that the commands of God bring joy?
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth
has been given to me. 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,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
For several years after becoming a Christian I was perplexed about baptism because I had heard some very negative teaching on the topic. A small group of people that I later learned was a cult pressured me, claiming that they were the only “true Christians” in the world. Needless to say, their views of baptism were not Biblically based and produced a significant amount of confusion. It took time and searching the Scripture before my mindset was transformed, the damage healed, and I was thinking clearly again. A maligned a very difficult topic for me became a strong desire to move forward in my faith.
When I did get baptized, it was a real celebration! I invited many of my friends and shared my journey before the baptism. Since then, I have had the privilege of baptizing many people, and every one of them has had such a pure joy (even when the water temperature was much colder than anticipated!).
There are a few rituals that Jesus emphasizes in the Bible, one of them is water baptism. It’s both a command to His followers and a time of great celebration. Interestingly, grace can be given through a command. How often do we forget that the commands of God bring joy? Jesus makes it clear that He wants all of His followers to be baptized in water.
We can’t earn our way to Heaven through water baptism. We are welcomed into Heaven because Jesus died for our sins and is risen, not because of anything we do. Water baptism honors Jesus and is a time of identification and closeness with our Savior. Baptism and communion incorporate our physical participation in His grace.
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Excerpt republished with permission from Rooted in Grace by Jesse Bradley c. 2012