We had 9 people baptised at Grace Church on Sunday. Part of their preparation was to write out, briefly, their story of why they are getting baptised. I loved reading these stories! They are all so different, yet there was one common thread in them all – God changed me through Jesus and I want to publicly tell others about that! When I asked one of the girls about to be baptised yesterday, if she was happy with Jesus as her Lord and saviour, she shouted, “Yeah man!” and hundreds of people erupted in cheers and applause. It was a great day for me as their pastor; great for those who made this public announcement; and a great celebration of the power of the gospel and glory of God.
As Paul said:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes ~ Romans 1:16
Baptism is a step of obedience to Jesus – Matthew 28:19-20, it is a mark of identification with Jesus (Romans 6:3-4) and it is a ceremony of change and transition (Galatians 3:26-27). Each story reflects these important elements. Baptism is an initiatory and symbolic act that marks the start of a life of faith in Christ (Acts 2:38-39). It is the act of a novice not an expert. There is no suggestion in scripture, that prior to baptism, you must undergo some sort of moral purification and “prove yourself worthy”. No-one becomes a Christian through moral reform or changing their behaviour to suit some arbitrary cultural standard. Baptism is a gift from God through his family here on Earth, (the local Church), that says: “Welcome to the family!”
Harvest Bible Church in the USA published the below video of their baptisms from 2 Sunday’s ago. While the scale differs to ours, the stories don’t! It’s all about Jesus!