Baptism: Identifying with Christ
Christ began His public ministry with baptism. At the time, John the Baptist was calling people to confess their sins and demonstrate repentance through immersion in the river. So why did Jesus, the sinless One, ask to be baptized? At first, John actually refused, knowing Christ was the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). But Jesus wasn't demonstrating repentance; He was sacrificially identifying with sinful humankind.
As Christians, we're called to follow His example in all things, becoming more like Him as we grow in our faith. That's why baptism is the first step in following Jesus. As He was willing to identify Himself with us, we publicly identify with Him when we are baptized, which is a symbolic way of declaring, "I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior and believe that the debt of my sin is fully paid through His sacrifice. I believe that as He rose from the dead, I will also be resurrected through Him. I look forward to walking in God's will while I'm on the earth and living with Him throughout eternity. Since He loved me enough to identify Himself with me in my sin, I will show my love for Him by following His example right now, and for the rest of my days."
Baptism demonstrates our connection not only with Christ but also with our spiritual brothers and sisters--past, present, and future. We're joining everyone who has walked before us in faith, saying that we are members of one body, redeemed and brought to life by the same Lord.
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