Water baptism is a symbolic ceremony and a public confession of your salvation. The act of water baptism is a ceremony that symbolizes what took place spiritually when we got saved: the death of our old life and the birth of our new life. Romans 6:1-14 explains it this way:
- Jesus was crucified (v.6) Our sinful nature was crucified (v.6)
- Jesus died (v.3) Our sinful nature died (vv.3,7,11,13), we are to count it as dead
- Jesus was buried (v.4) Our sinful nature was buried (v.4)
- Jesus was raised in newness of life (v.4) We were raised in newness of life (v.4)
- Jesus was freed from death (v.9) We were freed from sin (v.11)
- Death no longer has mastery over Jesus (v.9) Sin no longer has mastery over us (v.14)
So when you’re water baptized:
- The water = A symbol of any place a dead body would lie (a grave, a coffin, a tomb, etc.)
- Going under the water = A symbol of our sinful nature being buried
- Coming up out of the water = A symbol of our new nature coming alive
You see, 2 Corinthians 5:17 teaches that when someone gets saved the old life is gone and a new life begins. That is, you choose to reject the old sinful lifestyle and accept a new life of right living. Water baptism is the outward symbol of this inner decision. By the time we are water baptized all these things have already taken place. They happened at the moment we got saved. However, we are to act out this inward change in a public way (through water baptism).
Jesus wants us to make a public profession of how he has changed us. Once we’re saved it’s our job to share our faith. And that’s exactly what we do when we are water baptized. We share with others what God has done in our lives. Listen to what Mark 8:38 says “38 If a person is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of my Father with the holy angels.” Jesus wants followers that aren’t ashamed to follow him. Water baptism is a way you can publicly show that you are not ashamed of Jesus and what he’s done in your life. Once water baptized you can say with the apostle Paul “16…I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ…” Romans 1:16.