“…make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Sometimes we underestimate the importance God places on water baptism and fail to fully appreciate its spiritual significance. To understand its importance, we need only look to Jesus, who made a special trip from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist.
Water baptism is not a ritual; however, it does have very strong symbolism—of death, burial, and resurrection. When we are water baptized we declare in an outward way the inner change that occurred when we received Christ as our Saviour, namely the death and burial of the old man and the rising up of the new man.
For believers, water baptism is both an expression of our faith in Christ and obedience, a desire to totally surrender to the will of God, just as Jesus surrendered. Water baptism is not a declaration that we have arrived, but a declaration that we have begun our journey of discipleship. The great commission is not evangelism—it’s discipleship.
Water baptism is a declaration of three confessions, concerning our past, our present, and our future. Water baptism also speaks of our salvation: our justification, sanctification, and one day our glorification.