Blog Devotionals

Why Baptism is Important (and So Controversial)

January 8, 2024 | Sam Rainer

Why is baptism necessary according to the Bible? And why has the act been so controversial among different Christian groups in the last 2,000 years? Baptism is a rite that marks the beginning of the Christian faith. The Lord’s Supper is a rite that marks the continuation of faith. Both are ordinances of the church. But it’s not quite that simple. Many of the biggest controversies in church history have occurred because of different beliefs about baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

On Sunday, we will examine some of the biggest questions about baptism. What is the difference between an ordinance and a sacrament? Why do we immerse people in the water for baptism? Is baptism necessary for salvation? Does a pastor have to perform a baptism to make
it valid?

In Matthew 3, Jesus’ baptism became a sign of fulfillment and an example for all of us. In this passage, the Trinity performs three distinct activities.

1. God the Father speaks from heaven with approval: “This is my beloved Son.”
2. God the Son is obedient and baptized by John the Baptist.
3. God the Holy Spirit descends from heaven and empowers Jesus for ministry.

Baptism is an outward testimony of the inward change in a believer’s life—a powerful symbol of your salvation in Jesus. What spiritual significance is represented in the act of baptism? Our death in the downward movement into the water. Jesus sacrificed for us on the cross. Our burial is represented by going underwater. Jesus died in our place. Then, our resurrection is represented as we come up from the water. God raised Jesus from the dead to prove eternal life is real.

We get excited about baptisms at West B! It is a critical spiritual marker in someone’s life. Baptism is a public profession of faith that you are following Christ and an acknowledgment that you are committing to our local church. On Sunday, we will discuss more about the importance of baptism (and the controversy often associated with it). Onward!