Dead, Buried, and Risen with Him
Read Colossians 2:12 (ESV)
...having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
What is the role of baptism? Does it save us?
Baptism is a hot topic in Christianity today. Does baptism equal salvation? If not, what is the role of baptism? Why is it a church ordinance?
In today’s verses, Paul says that we have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised with Christ through faith. So, is Paul saying that a physical water baptism is necessary for salvation? No! If you read along with us last week, we discussed how Paul told the Colossians that physical circumcision was no longer necessary because Jesus spiritually circumcised our hearts at salvation. He cut away our old flesh and made us a new creation in Him. Just as physical circumcision is a ritual that has no saving power, the same is true of baptism. Paul wanted to emphasize that physical rites and rituals are works of man. We are not saved by our works!
Salvation is an act of God. Notice how Paul says that we were raised with him “through faith in the powerful working of God.” If we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and put our trust in Him for our own salvation, then we will be raised just as Jesus was raised. Romans 10:9 confirms this: “...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It is clear from Scripture that salvation is a work of faith and a work of God, not the result of human works or rituals.
But if baptism doesn’t save, why is an ordinance of the church? Because Jesus Himself commanded it. Right before he ascended into heaven, He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). We participate in the ordinance of baptism because Jesus said to baptize His followers. It is an act of obedience to our Lord.
In Acts 2:38, while giving a sermon that led to 3,000 conversions, Peter told the listening crowd to “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” As you read the New Testament, you will see this pattern continue—people repent of their sins, put their faith in Jesus Christ, and then immediately go and get baptized.
Baptism is a public confession of our new commitment to Christ. It is a picture of a spiritual reality. When we go down into the water, it symbolizes our burial with Him. When we come up out of the water, it is a picture of our resurrection in Christ. Baptism doesn’t forgive our sins and it doesn’t lead to our salvation but it is an act of obedience to show that believers identify with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
Friend, have you been baptized? If not, what is holding you back? If you have made a commitment to follow Christ, then baptism is an act of obedience to that commitment. I encourage you to take a public step to declare that you identify with Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. It was important enough to be Jesus’ last words to us on earth. So go, therefore, and get baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, thank You for the promise of salvation. Thank You that it is a powerful work of God and that it is not dependent on my works. However, I want to be obedient to You and follow all of Your commands. In baptism and in the way I live my life, I want to publicly declare that I follow You. Amen.