I love water baptism services! At the church we are a part of we call them “Plunge Parties” (i.e. taking “the plunge” to follow Jesus … “all in” for Him!).
According to Romans 6:1-11, water baptism is more than simply a ceremony! It represents a reality – it is a “baptism into Christ Jesus” – a full and complete identification with His death, burial and resurrection. In a real way it is a faith-identification with Him – IN SOME REAL WAY HIS DEATH BECAME OUR DEATH TO SIN, HIS BURIAL BECAME OUR BURIAL, AND, PRAISE THE LORD, HIS RESURRECTION BECOMES OUR RESURRECTION! Here is how Romans 6:4 puts it… “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!”
Years ago, when I baptized a friend of mine, Bill Cypher, in the Crow Wing River in Minnesota, this was his testimony… “The pastor told us today this was really a burial service! Today I can see my past – the sin I have committed – just going down that river far, far away. In a moment the pastor is going to put me down into the water of this river and the ‘old Bill’ you knew is going to be buried! Then he’s going to bring me up out of the water, and by the grace of God, you’re going to see a ‘new Bill’”! I remember it like it was yesterday… What a testimony! What an accurate description of what water baptism represents – and what it truly ought to be!
This morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read Galatians 2:20 and thought to myself, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get people to memorize this verse and get them to quote it and affirm it in a loud and clear voice when they came out of the waters of baptism… “I HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST! IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME! AND THE LIFE I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH I LIVE BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, WHO LOVED ME AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME!”