Baptism and New Birth


The baptism of Jesus was to exemplify the notion of being born again. We see this explained in the Gospel of John when Jesus encounters Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews (John 3:1). Being born again is to understand that in Christ’s birth, Jesus rebirths humanity to Himself so that believers could truly be born. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he ought to be born again so that he may see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). What Jesus is saying is that there is a second birth that needs to occur for one to experience the kingdom of God. This second birth is baptism.

One is born of flesh out of the womb into the depravity of humanity. The second birth is the birth of the Spirit of God within the believer, as they make their commitment to Jesus Christ, who is Savior. We see this language being used in the Gospel of Mark when John alludes to the fact that he baptizes people with water, but Jesus will come to baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). This is the mark of peace and salvation upon the believer. Jesus comes to offer Himself as the Spirit of the living God. The Spirit indwells the believer upon the second birth and baptism is the outward statement of this inward reality.

Christ provides sanctification in Himself and in His obedience as the ultimate example of sanctification. The baptism of Jesus was a way to exemplify the initiation that He took for the benefit of believers. As Christians pursue the beauty and riches that are found in Christ, they ought to humbly submit themselves to the authority of God, living out the true gospel of servanthood and obedience to the Father as Jesus did in His baptism. Jesus was baptized to please the Father and be the example of His followers.

To conclude, it is important to understand that baptism is significant in light of the entire narrative of the Bible, as it resembles the purpose of the redeeming Savior. It is the outward symbol of an internal work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people of God. In baptism, one resembles the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Jesus was the prime example of baptism and submission to the Father, He took initiative in leading His followers to the waters of baptism. Believers ought to be baptized so that they may be obedient to what the Son of God had done. Like the Son, we partake in the sacrament of baptism, acknowledging our second birth in the Spirit of God.

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