I was so excited that on Sunday I got to be with our church family to watch Jordan get baptized on Pensacola Beach. Like me, you are probably asking, “What? I thought Jordan was already baptized since he became a Christian when he was younger.” Well, his parents made the decision to allow Jordan to decide when he was going to get baptized so that it was HIS proclamation of faith, not his parents’. A wise decisions I must say. Up until the last few years, Jordan didn’t really see a need to be baptized, and it was not at all on his list of priorities. As he grew in his knowledge of the Word, he saw that it was a commandment for a believer to be baptized as a public proclamation of faith. When our new pastor, John Mark, heard this story he asked Jordan if he wanted to get baptized in a few weeks and the rest is in the water.
But before I share all the fun pictures let take a little history lesson in baptism.
Before I became a Christian I attended a church that required confirmation courses and classes before baptism was allowed. After the completion of those courses, I could be baptized and welcomed as a member of the church. Erroneously, this teaching did not include the gospel of Jesus Christ, but focused on the traditions of man, the Apostles Creed, the history of the Methodist church, and some scripture memory including the 10 Commandments. I came out of that class with a little knowledge and a little water sprinkled on my head, falsely believing I was a Christian. Then I heard the Gospel…and everything that I learned in those classes become nothing in light of my dying Savior. The Lord revealed His Son to me and I became a Christian.
I started to study the Word on my own, and began attending another church where I learned what Baptism really was. I told them I had already been baptized and did not need to be again, but the youth Pastor at my old church took me to Matthew 3:16 “And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water…” and showed me otherwise. He taught me that baptism was only after one has accepted Christ as the Savior of their life, believing in His death, burial and victorious resurrection, and that it was immersion, not sprinkling. In Acts 8: 36-39 we are introduced to the eunuch who proclaimed, “look! water! what prevents me from being baptized…and they both went down into the water, Phillip and the eunuch and he baptized him. According to the scriptures, baptism is by immersion, representing that we were “buried with Him through baptism into death” and “raised up with HIM through faith” (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). The word “baptizo” in the Greek means to immerse. Phillip didn’t just take water from his canteen and sprinkle it on the eunuch’s head, he brought him to the river because he “believed that Jesus is the son of God” (v.37) and wanted to make the proclamation that he was now a believer in the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD.
Phillips concern for the eunuch brings up an important topic. Baptism is not for salvation and is not the means in which a person gets to heaven. The eunuch in his excitement proclaims, ” what prevents me from being baptized?” Phillip’s response was “If you believe with all your heart you may.” Believe what? The eunuch answers, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” His belief was in the coming Messiah that he was previously reading about in Isaiah, the one who “was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a Lamb before its shearer is silent, so HE does not open HIS mouth.” (Acts 8:32; Isaiah 53:7) Phillip agreed to baptize the eunuch based on his proclamation of Christ as messiah, salvation much come before baptism.
Also, the man who believed Christ while hanging on the cross did not have the opportunity to be baptized. Does that mean that he does not get to spend eternity with his Savior? If we believe Christ’s words to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise,” then we cannot believe that baptism is required for salvation and forgiveness of sins (Luke 23:43). We see that salvation does not require baptism for “without the shedding of blood there is not remission for sins” (Hebrews 9:22). Only the blood of Jesus Christ and cleans us from our unrighteousness, not a work like baptism. We need a Savior, not a pond.
So there we were standing on the beach waiting for Jordan to be brought into the water. Like the eunuch, he was excited for his baptism and even wore his WITNESS shirt to get the message across.
John Mark brought him to the water and he was baptized, buried under the waves to be raised again, proclaiming to all who were on the beach that day that he was a believer of Jesus Christ.
Buried in HIS likeness and RAISED again through the Glory of the Father to walk in newness of life.
What a cutie!