I can vividly remember the day I was baptized. I was ten years old. Halloween fell on a Sunday that year, so rather than going out trick-or-treating, I was at my church on Sunday night (which was when they did baptisms). Why would any kid give up a chance for candy for something like this? Because I wanted everyone to know that I was a follower of Jesus Christ, my Savior.
At its heart, baptism is an act of identification. It is like my wearing my wedding ring. The ring does not make me married. It just announces to all who see it that I belong to someone – I have made my choice. In the same way, baptism does not save us. Instead, it announces to everyone what is already true – that I have put my trust in Jesus as my Savior and desire to follow Him the rest of my life. At New Covenant, we baptize anyone old enough to have understood his or her need for a Savior and who has made the decision I made to trust in Jesus.
In Matthew 28, Jesus tells his disciples to baptize anyone who follows Him. So yes, I was baptized our of obedience because Jesus asks me to do that as one of His followers. But I did not do it out of duty. I did it out of excitement and joy. And I am glad I did. In the good times and the bad, it has been a reminder to me that God is with me and that I belong to Him. Oh, and I actually didn’t miss out on getting some candy! My grandparents were there and gave me some after the service was over!
By Pastor James Wartian, Adult Ministry/Outreach Pastor