Baptism is essential to our Christian faith, as it symbolizes our commitment to following Jesus Christ publicly. First, baptism is a public declaration of our belief in Jesus and His disciples in our decision to faithfully follow Him. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands his disciples to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This passage emphasizes the importance of baptism for believers to demonstrate their faith in Jesus publicly.
Secondly, baptism represents our spiritual rebirth or renewal. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:4-5, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection….” Through baptism, believers are symbolically buried with Christ and raised again to a new life in Him.
Finally, baptism serves as an act of obedience to God’s commandments. As Jesus Himself was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17), so too should His followers be baptized as a sign of their submission to God’s will. Acts 2:38 states, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for [because of] the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Baptism signifies our repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone. Baptism is not a work. It is a response to our relationship with God. The water does not save us, Jesus does.
To sum it all up, baptism is essential for followers of Jesus because it demonstrates our commitment to Him publicly, represents our spiritual renewal and rebirth through faith in Him, and serves as an act of obedience to God’s commandments. By being baptized, we declare our faith in Jesus and identify ourselves as members of His body and the local church community.