This past Sunday, March 20th, I had the privilege of baptizing my granddaughter. Lily Kluck is 13 years old. The Lord saved her recently and she approached me at the end of a church service a few weeks ago and asked me if I would baptize her. I was pleasantly surprised with her request. So we walked to the front of the sanctuary, sat down, and had a little talk about her conversion and her desire to be baptized. The following points are what I shared with Lily.
- Baptism is for believers only. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 28:16-20 that his disciples should “go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…” Here the order of salvation and baptism are taught; a person becomes a believer first, then he/she is baptized. Therefore, we do not baptize anyone that hasn’t first professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, that means that we do not baptize babies.
- Baptism is a public way to identify as a believer in Jesus Christ. During our baptismal service, Lily gave her testimony as a way of declaring publicly that the Lord had saved her. She told of her life before conversion, how the Lord saved her, and how her life has changed since her conversion. At the end of the service Lily was baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as another way of publicly declaring her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and her intent to follow Him all the days of her life.
- Baptism does not save. A sinner is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Once a sinner repents of his sins and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, all of his/her sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ, and the sinner is declared justified, and adopted into the family of God. The act of baptism, nor the watery grave, adds anything to the salvation of the sinner. To believe that repentance of your sins and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ PLUS baptism saves sinners is heresy. It is a false gospel, and Paul pronounces anathema upon anyone that would teach such heresy in Galatians 1:1-9
- Baptism is done in the name of our Triune God. In this way we recognize, honor and praise the three persons of the Godhead in our salvation. We praise the Father for electing us unto salvation before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). We praise the Son for laying down His life for us as a sacrifice, a substitution, and as a payment for our sins (Ephesians 5:25). And we praise the Holy Spirit for regenerating us (John 3:1-8)
- Baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and the believer. Christ was crucified, buried and raised from the dead. As the new convert is standing in the baptistry, he is identifying with the death of Jesus Christ. As the new convert is immersed under the water, he is identifying with the burial of Jesus Christ. And as the new convert is raised out of the water, he is identifying with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a vivid picture of the crucifixion and burial of the old man and the resurrection of the new man.
Thank the Lord for saving Lily from her sins and His wrath. I pray that in the future, the Lord will draw many more sinners to Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit as the word of God is preached. Join me in praising the Lord for saving Lily, and in praying that many more will come to Christ in the days ahead.