Here are some underlying reasons. Jesus' instructs his disciples to baptize people who believe the gospel, so obviously Jesus expects his followers to be baptized. The scriptures are filled with passages of people who believed the gospel and were baptized, they serve as an example for us. The inauguration of Jesus' earthly ministry was his baptism (Want to be missional? Get baptized. I would suggest that our Holy Spirit-empowered ministry as Christians begins post-baptism, just like Jesus' did. I just thought of that now, so don't quote me on it... I'm using parenthesis for a reason).
Furthermore, baptism is one of the most important moments for a Christian. It is a moment where you:
- Make a public declaration, be a witness, of what you believe to be true (our culture thinks public declarations of truth are stupid; so baptism is counter-cultural... if you're a hipster, this point alone should convince you)
- Tell all who are surrounding you that you are taking the claims of Christ seriously, and chose to live in light of the reality that Christ defines
- Encouraged in their faith and commitment to following Christ
- Given the freedom and authority to speak into your life to help you grow in Christ
My point is not to mandate a specific time frame between belief and baptism (e.g. one hour, one-day, one-month, one-year, etc.), nor is to mandate a method of baptism (sorry passionate anabaptists!). My point is to encourage people who believe the gospel but have not been baptized, to be baptized.
If you believe the gospel and attend a church, you should talk to them about what the steps are to be baptized (If you're a Christian and you don't think you need the local church, just read my previous blog post for my thoughts on that).
If you believe the gospel but aren't plugged into a church, feel free to comment below or contact me to get plugged into one.
Do you believe? Then be baptized!