Water Baptism and Dry Baptism

Having been buried with Him in baptism, . . .  you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

–Colossians 2:12

Only Jesus Christ can set us free from the consequences of sin, the power of sin, and one day, the sinful bodies we inhabit. No rituals or regulations can save us. In Colossians 2, Paul used the ritual of circumcision to illustrate that truth.

Then he turned to a ritual that is more familiar to us: baptism. Colossians 2:12 says, “Having been buried with Him in baptism, . . . you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

Some people might yank this verse out of context and claim that baptism is what saves us. Yes, water baptism is an important profession of our faith, but it’s not what saves us. The baptism Paul was talking about is spiritual baptism. The moment you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are baptized with the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul wrote, “By one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” Spiritual baptism is the act of God by which a Christian is joined together with Jesus Christ and other members of the body of Christ.

What is the significance of that? Because you’re one with Jesus Christ, you participate in both His death and His resurrection. You die to your old way of living, and you are raised to walk in a brand-new way of life. Water baptism is not what saves you–it’s a picture of the resurrection to a new way of living that should characterize every believer’s life as a result of spiritual baptism.

In Colossians 2:12, Paul talked about the means of spiritual baptism: “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God” (emphasis mine). Just as you cannot spiritually circumcise yourself, you can’t spiritually baptize yourself. Spiritual baptism is the working of God. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

We are saved when we realize there is nothing we can do to earn God’s approval–no list of rules we can keep, no ritual we can participate in–and instead we trust in what Christ did on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Only then are we truly saved from the consequences, the power, and, ultimately, the body of sin.

***

Today’s devotion is adapted from “Radical Surgery” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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