This short post is a plea for us to redress the balance in our attitude to baptism.
Yes, baptism is a moment of joy, signifying one’s release from slavery to sin as a master (Romans 6). However, let us pause to remember that the act of baptism in Roman times was the equivalent of a death warrant for the new believer in Christ. (It still is in certain Islamic and Communist countries). And since, theologically, baptism signifies identification with Christ in His momentous death, burial and resurrection, it would behove us to treat it with the seriousness it deserves. Are we wise to treat it as a “celebration” where the candidate is “congratulated” for their “decision”, and “clapped” out of the water?
No one has ever described the deep, true and weighty significance of baptism better than Scottish evangelist William Trew (1902-1971) who said:
“In that act of obedience there is, on the part of the disciple of the Lord Jesus, the public severance of every moral tie that bound them to the world life, the sin life, and the self life, and a solemn surrender of themselves to the absolute authority of their sovereign Lord and Master, henceforth to live for His pleasure and if needs be, to die for His cause”.