After His resurrection, Jesus taught His disciples for another 40 days. His last words were so important we find them in the Bible in four different locations! The Gospel of Mark records our Lord saying,

“Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to all people.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;

whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

(Good News Bible)

Jesus expected His disciples to continue baptizing as He had instituted from the beginning. Not only did He want them to preach the gospel; He expected people to obey it also.

Obeying the Gospel

One of the apostles warned us judgment is coming on all those who do not obey the gospel (II Thessalonians 1:8). Last time, we already saw the gospel message summarized as Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection (I Corinthians 15:14). We must obey our Lord’s death by dying also. We die out to the works of our sinful flesh. We crucify our passion for wickedness (Romans 6:6-8). Next, we join in our Lord’s burial.

Buried with Jesus Christ

We join Christ’s burial by baptism in His Name (Romans 6:4-5). We bury deceased persons in earth. We bury our carnal nature in water. This practical act joins us with Christ to fellowship with His rejection so we can join Him in His exaltation. We do more than just acknowledge the story; we become part of it when we obey the gospel.

Why Be Baptized?
When people came to the apostle Peter asking what they should do after hearing the gospel, he told them, “Repent, and baptized…” (Acts 2:38). The Bible never presents baptism as an optional thing. Scripture commands us to be baptized. Those who love God with all their hearts will not try to argue themselves out of this humbling process. If God asks us to be baptized, we should do it even if we do not fully understand all that it means.

To Join the New Covenant
Under the old covenant, God used circumcision to mark those who had joined in His promises. From Abraham until Christ, a newborn son received circumcision when he was eight days old. Today, God’s new contract with humanity proclaims His name over us in baptism (Colossians 2:11-12). This spiritual circumcision marks a newborn believer as part of an eternal covenant, not just an earthly one.

Those who rejected the old covenant seal of faith would be rejected from God’s promises (Genesis 17:10-11). Today, this higher calling carries the same weight.

To Wash away Sins

The apostle Paul joined in baptism to wash away his sins while calling on the Name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). The apostle Peter said we get baptized “for the forgiveness of sins” or the cleansing of them (Acts 2:38). Later, in a letter he wrote the churches, he explained further, “It is not the washing off of bodily dirt, but the promise made to God from a good [cleansed] conscience” (I Peter 3:21).
To Bury the Old Nature
If repentance kills the old nature, what do you do with it afterwards? If a rabid dog had come after you, think of how grateful you would have felt after a police officer shot it. You would not, however, leave the dead dog carcass lying in your yard to stink. You would want to bury it. Similarly, baptism is your chance to bury your old sinful nature and be done with it. It gives a clear date and time to your decision to leave the old life and wholly commit to the new.

To Sign the Contract

You do not just want a casual relationship with the Lord. You want something eternal, unchanging. When a person buys a house, the process often involves a verbal agreement, followed by a written contract.

We make our verbal agreement with God when we come to the point of repentance and belief. Just as you cannot move into the house with a handshake, however, we also must authorize this contract with God. We sign the Life covenant with baptism. The signature is not ours, but His.

To Take the Covenant Name

Jesus commanded His men to take the message throughout the world, and “baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Rather than just repeat this phrase He gave, the apostles obeyed Him by baptizing new believers in the one Name of salvation.
The Father gave the son, the Name of Jesus (Yahweh-Shua or Yeshua, in the Hebrew language). Jesus came in the authority and Name of almighty God (Isaiah 12; John 5:43; Hebrews 1:4).
Son. The Son carried this name Jesus (John 20:31). This was God’s name for the Messiah which He kept hidden until the proper time.
Spirit. When we allow Jesus to come live in our hearts, we receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ. God, who is Spirit, comes to us in the Name of Jesus Christ (John 14:26).

So, if the Name of Yahweh, the Father, is now Jesus (Yeshua), and the Name of the Son is Jesus, and the Name of The Spirit of Yahweh is Jesus, then the Name of baptism must be Jesus. No wonder Peter commanded the people “be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven” (Acts 2:38). They knew that there was no other name but this One Name of salvation (Acts 4:12).

To Put Oneself Under New Ownership
God signs His Name on our lives as we enter this new covenant. Some believe they should just repeat the words of Jesus at baptism, saying, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost.” However, no one ever baptized like this in scripture. In fact, no one ever baptized this way in the whole century when Jesus lived. While “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” describe who God is, the Name He goes by is “Jesus.”

You want the name of salvation signed on your life, not something else. If you were being paid a check from your male boss, what would you think if he signed it, “Father, Son, Husband”? Sure, he is a father, a son, and a husband, but the bank will not cash the check unless his name is there. If we want access to all of God’s resources, we need His Name on our lives, not just “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Those who get baptized in Jesus’ Name put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). We remove our sins and the sins of our ancestors all the way to Adam. Take off the name of doom (Adam) and put on the name of Life (Jesus Christ). Find a church where you can receive baptism in Jesus’ Name.

To Escape the Coming Destruction
Noah built a boat to rescue the world from destruction. Just as eight people were saved by water then, so we are rescued from sin by water baptism today (I Peter 3:20-22; Romans 15:4). Noah only built one boat with one door. God has only provided one method of baptism (Ephesians 4:5). We must be fully dunked under water in the Name of Jesus Christ to have our sins washed away (Acts 2, 8, 10, 19).

To Get Free from Bondage

When Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, they crossed through the Red Sea by God’s miracle power. “In the cloud and in the sea they were all baptized as followers of Moses” (I Corinthians 10:1-2, 11). Moses was a savior to Israel by rescuing them from the bondage of Egypt. When we come to the Lord, He rescues us from evil and takes us through baptism.

Once Israel had been “baptized into Moses,” the water walls crashed down and destroyed their oppressor. On the opposite shore, they shouted for victory that God had set them free. When a new believer comes up from baptism, he or she should rejoice and praise God for freedom from the enemy. On the other side of the Red Sea, Pharaoh could not touch God’s people; when you come up from baptism, know that the devil cannot control your life any longer.

Next time…

We will look at the next most important addition to your life.