Water Baptism is like a wedding ring: they both symbolize a transaction. The wedding ring symbolizes marriage just as water baptism symbolizes salvation. Wearing a wedding ring does not make you married any more than being baptized makes you saved. To elaborate: if a person puts on a ring he may or may not be married, but if he does not wear a wedding ring we can almost assume that he is not married. And so it was in New Testament days. If a person was not baptized, it could probably be assumed that they were not a believer.
On this we must be clear: baptism is a symbol of salvation and only a symbol. But, like a wedding ring, it is such an effective symbol that it should never be taken for granted. Repentance and water baptism go together.
Notice, repentance is always first. When the Apostle Peter was preaching Jesus to the people they asked him, “…what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” Look at this scripture in Acts 2:37-38. Repentance is first then followed by water baptism. This is a common occurrence in the New Testament.
A minister was seeking to explain the significance of water baptism to a new convert. He was gesturing as he talked and noticed that as he was using his hand, its shadow fell on the ground. He said to the new convert, “Do you see the shadow of my hand on the sand? Now that is just a shadow. My hand is the real thing. And when you come to Jesus, believe in Him, and repent of your sins, that is the real baptism. You are now joined to Him and what happened to Him also happens to you. Jesus was alive then He died on a cross, was buried, and then He rose again. That is the picture of what has already happened in your spirit. Water Baptism is a symbol to teach us what happens to us when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Also, it is an act of obedience. Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). We see that believing is first then water baptism follows which puts these two dynamics together.
When a person truly repents he has a heart-felt desire to obey the word of the Lord. He truly hungers to do everything that pleases God. This is an act of obedience which brings the Lord and His church together. They team up as a single unit.
Yes, only Jesus can save us from our sins making this a true spiritual experience. But the Lord will baptize no one in water. He made this the function of the church and its ministry. It takes a man of God to perform the physical act of water baptism. And for this very reason Jesus created the church. He called people to preach the gospel, baptize in water, pray for the sick, exemplify the Word of God, and work the ministry. For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.