Made New: What is Baptism?

Week 1 – Andy Hazelet – February 9, 2020

A simple look into the very basics of Baptism, according to the New Testament teaching and practice.

Big Question:  What is Baptism?

  1. Baptism is for Christians. 

Acts 2:38 – 41: “Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”  Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!  Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.”  (NLT)

  1. Baptism symbolizes Cleansing.  

Matthew 3:1-6 – “In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming!  Clear the road for him!’” John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.”  (NLT)

1 John 1:7: “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”  (NLT)

  1. Baptism symbolizes a covenant.

Colossians 2:11-12 – “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.  So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.  When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.  For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.”  (NLT)

“When God enters into covenants with His people, making promises of redemption to them, His pattern is to attest to the authenticity of the covenant by giving some kind of external sign.  For instance, when He promised Noah that He would never destroy the world again through a flood, God set His bow in the sky. That bow was a visible sign that confirmed the promise of God for the future of this planet. He was saying that every time we see a rainbow, we should be reminded that God has promised never to destroy the world again with a flood.  Just as circumcision was the sign of the old covenant, baptism is the sign of the new covenant. In a very real way, what circumcision was to the Old Testament, baptism is for the New Testament.”  (R.C. Sproul, What Is Baptism?)

The early church picked up on this metaphor of dying and rising with Christ, which has proven to be a strong and consistent depiction of baptism throughout the centuries.  Liturgical historian James White notes that some early baptisteries facilitated immersion while also replicating the form of a mausoleum.”  (Dr. Constance Cherry).

Colossians 2:9-10: “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.  So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”  (NLT)