Q44: What is baptism?

A: Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it signifies our adoption into Christ, our cleansing from sin, and our commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church.

Scripture Reference:

“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

Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?

Baptism serves as a beautiful reminder that we are adopted into the Family of God. We are sons and daughters of the Most High and when we participate in baptism we are acknowledging this very fact. I like the way the commentary* says it in the book, “Jesus was plunged beneath the waters of judgement, so that I might drink the waters of everlasting life.” God sent Jesus so that we could have relationship with Him. Baptism is our reminder of God’s love for us and how God went to extreme lengths to save us.

  • John 3:16-17For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
  • Ephesians 1:3-10 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?

As followers of Christ, we are called to not only be baptized, but also to make disciples and baptize others. Every day we wake up to new mercies which should propel us to seek and save the lost, just as Jesus did. We should want all people to come to know the truth that sets them free and to participate in this act that reminds them of their freedom in Christ.

  • Lamentations 3:22-23 “The steadfast love of the Lordnever ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
  • Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?

Practically speaking, baptism is something that all Christians should do. Jesus was baptized and we should follow in his footsteps to do the same. When we walk in obedience to be baptized, we are proclaiming to God, ourselves, and to all those watching, that we know that God loves us and we want to live our lives now and for eternity with Him.

  • Matthew 3:13-14 “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” 
  • Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.”
*Purchase the commentary for the New City Catechism by clicking here.