baptism as initiation and baptism as participation. Now in this post I want explore the idea of baptism as declaration.
Declaration of what?
Baptism is a declaration of discipleship.
It's a public thing. You can believe in Jesus in the private sphere of your heart, but there's something about going public with your faith that makes a difference.
In fact, in Islamic countries a Muslim person can believe in their heart that Jesus has saved them from their sins, but it's only when he makes it public through baptism that he's cut off from his family, called a traitor, and loses his property to the government (see "Baptism and the Muslim Convert to Christianity" by Azar Ajaj).
Baptism isn't just a little extra seasoning on Christian faith; it's a big deal.
It's a big deal because baptism shows your primary allegiance.
Mark 1:9 says, "One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River."
When Jesus went into the water and allowed John to baptize him, he was saying, "This guy is telling the truth. You can believe him. I'm declaring publicly that I am not ashamed to identify with him and his message."
Christian baptism in the name of Jesus says the same thing.
Stanley Grenz put it like this: "Through [baptism], we declare our intention to follow the pathway of discipleship" (Theology for the Community of God, 680).
So baptism is, in the words of Andy Stanley, a public declaration of a new association.
It's an announcement of a new decision to follow a new way. At its core, Christian baptism says, "I'm now associating myself with the mission and message of Jesus. I'm publicly declaring myself to be his disciple."
Consider This (Logizomai in Romans 6:11)
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