"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." - Matthew 28:19 [ESV]
This Sunday, our Doxa Church family will gather to witness and celebrate the baptism of three of our Doxa family members. It'll be a wonderful day for us as a new church and a significant moment for those being baptized.
Before we gather to celebrate, it is important to remember what baptism means and why it is given such a central role as one of two ordinances in the church, alongside the Lord's Supper.
What Baptism is Not
First, let’s make sure we know what Baptism is not mainly about. It is not about our own individual expression of obedience to God. We are not mainly celebrating a person's obedience, nor is baptism simply the next step on the part of the Christ-follower. While both are true, these are not what the Bible emphasizes when it comes to baptism.
Furthermore, Baptism is not some religious ritual to signify entrance into a group, and it certainly does not gain us access to salvation. The water has no saving effect. Rather, baptism is a visible expression enacted by Jesus' Church to identify each new believer with the most important historical event in human history: the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
What Baptism Means
"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." - Romans 6:4 [ESV]
As we witness three baptisms this Sunday, we are not focusing on the obedience of the believer. Rather, we are concentrating our thoughts on the death of our Savior. When the Christ-follower is buried beneath the water, we remember how Christ died and was buried in a borrowed tomb. As the believer emerges from the water, we are to recall how Christ emerged from the tomb, victorious over sin and death. It is that same victory which Christ won for us that gives us the joy to celebrate the new believer as he or she comes up from the water.
In His wisdom, God chose immersion within water as the means by which He would visibly display to the world how salvation into the covenant community of Christ is accomplished. We are saved from sin and into the covenant body of Christ all through the work of Jesus on the cross; baptism is a visible seal of that covenant work of Christ.
If faith spiritually unites us with the finished work of Christ, then baptism visibly unites us in the same manner. In the act of baptism, God offers His people a chance to see visibly what has already happened spiritually in the life of the believer.
Doxa Church welcomes you to gather with us on Sunday, December 2 as we behold the victory which Christ won for us and celebrate new life in Christ. The baptism gathering will begin at 4:30 P.M.