Baptism, The Believer's Confession
Baptism is an ordinance of Christ that is observed by many, but understood by few. Most people in our society have been baptized, or undergone some religious ritual called "baptism." But very few understand the nature and meaning of this blessed gospel ordinance. Be sure you understand these four things about baptism.
1. The one prerequisite to, or condition for baptism in the New Testament is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is for believer's only. "If thou believest with all thine heart thou mayest" (Acts ).
2. Baptism is an act of obedience to Christ our Lord (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. -16). To all who believe on his name Christ's first commandment is, "Arise, and be baptized" (Acts ).
3. Baptism is "the answer of a good conscience toward God" (I Pet. ). John Gill wrote, "Baptism is rightly performed, and its ends answered, when a person, conscious to himself of its being an ordinance of Christ, and of his duty to submit to it, does so upon profession of his faith in Christ, in obedience to his command, and with a view to his glory."
4. And baptism is the believer's confession of faith in and allegiance to Christ as his Lord and Savior. This is Paul's doctrine in Romans 6:1-11. Baptism is the means by which the believer confesses his faith in Christ, identifies himself with Christ and declares his commitment to Christ before the world. In chapters 3, 4, and 5 Paul declared, explained and illustrated the glorious gospel doctrine of free justification by the grace of God, through the blood of Christ. In those chapters he showed us how that sinners are justified before God by grace alone, in Christ alone, through faith alone. In chapter 6 he shows us the believer's responsibility, having been saved by grace, to live in righteousness. He is describing our new life in Christ. And the very first thing he deals with is believer's baptism.
This is a matter of great importance. It should never be neglected, or looked upon as a "non-essential" thing. Who dares to declare that the ordinance of Christ is non-essential? If you are a believer, baptism is essential. It is, as it were, the first step in the life of obedience to God.