Raised to Life

Reflecting on baptism as a signpost for something bigger

“For a long time, I struggled with the concept of baptism. I felt that it was something that only new Christians did and that it wasn’t something I needed, because I'd been a Christian almost all my life. It’s crazy how we sometimes believe even the most ridiculous lies from Satan, and for probably the best part of three years, I held on to this lie to the point where I believed baptism would actually be a step backwards in my faith journey, rather than a step forward. It wasn’t until recently that God opened my eyes to see just how much I had let my pride get in the way of what God has in store for me. So today I declare that God’s power is so much greater than pride, and that for the rest of my days I will seek to be obedient to all that He is calling me into.” Lachlan Pennell, 19

Words: Scott McKinnon Read: 0 - 5 mins Published: 30 June 2019

Lachlan’s story is one of many, recounting how God has unveiled the truth of baptism to His people at Riverlife. In fact, over the past three months, we have had more than 25 people baptised after coming to a revelation of this command. How awesome is that!

At a basic level, baptism is an instruction that Jesus left for the church. It is a process of being ‘washed’ with water and is one of Jesus’ teachings for Christian living. The intention behind baptism is that we are identifying with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, which is at the centre of the Christian gospel. We see the parallel as people go down into the water (death), are fully submerged (burial), and then emerge out of the water (resurrection) as we read about in Romans 6:1-7. It represents the open way for life in the Spirit, the way that God designed us to live. This parallel speaks to what God has done for us as “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

Baptism is an outward marker or symbol of an inner change of the heart. It’s like a signpost pointing toward the incredible gospel message, in which we each participate. A signpost on display for the world that says “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ… and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace…” (Ephesians 2:5-7).

However, it’s not just a signpost. Baptism also vividly expresses our covenantal commitment to Christ and His church. Jesus shows us covenantal faithfulness by giving up His life for us. So too, baptism is a way that we show Him that we are entirely devoted to Him and His kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven. Just like a wedding ring symbolises a commitment of marriage to a partner for life, baptism represents a similar commitment to the entire universe. Those who have been baptised are genuinely participating in the life that God calls us to live as new creations, living with new perspectives as resurrected believers.

If you want to engage with God through baptism, feel free to contact the church office to get a copy of the ‘Raised to Life’ baptism booklet. But perhaps you fear sharing your testimony, or maybe you think you are too old or even too mature a Christian to be baptised. Our prayer is that you would allow God to unveil the truth of baptism to you. What is He saying? Maybe it’s that you have been baptised already. Why don’t you spend some time right now thanking the Lord for all that He has promised through this ordinance or praise Him for the freedom that you have received as a new creation? After all, “the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)!

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