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Refresh Your Faith: Why You (Still) Need Baptism


Remember when you first started following Jesus? For many of us, there was a new sense of joy, freshness, vitality, a sense of God's presence in our lives. We love times like this and wish that we experienced them more often.

The normal Christian life is like any love relationship, the honeymoon phase does pass. But that doesn't mean that we can't regularly experience times of refreshing and renewed joy. God has given us the spiritual disciplines (or means of grace as I'll call them here) for that very purpose.

Means of grace are ways we access the refreshing grace of God: the Bible, prayer, Christian friendships, worship services, communion, serving, and more. Think of these means of grace as the most beautiful, picturesque river you can imagine. Now imagine that river flowing out of the mightiest, never-ending waterfall you've ever seen…

That waterfall is the boundless, unending grace of God in Christ pouring out toward all his children. That river is the means of grace—a ceaseless supply of the refreshing life-giving grace of God meant for us to enjoy! All we have to do to experience the refreshment and joy of God is take the time the step into that river and let its crystal-clear goodness flow over us and into us.

Once we start following Jesus, there's one means of grace that we tend to forget about: baptism. 

Baptism is meant to help us experience newness of life through our union with Jesus: 
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Romans 6:4-5.

Baptism is an ongoing means of grace.

The Bible teaches that baptism is a means of grace because it is a unique and powerful reminder of the gospel. It’s a sign of God’s promises to us. It celebrates and reminds us of what God has done for us in Christ: he has united you to Jesus (Romans 6:4-7) and now you have full access to the waterfall of his grace. He has cleansed you of your sin (Acts 22:16), your old life is gone, and he has given you a new life (Rom 6:1-7). And he has joined you in membership to his church (Acts 2:41).  

Jesus commands that everyone who follows him should be baptized (Matt 28:18-20). Because baptism symbolizes all these things that God has promised to us and his promises are never in doubt, we only need to be baptized once. But here’s the thing … although you should only be baptized once, you can enjoy baptism as an ongoing means of grace by seeing and celebrating the baptisms of others in your church family.  

When we are present during a baptism, the Bible teaches that the presence of Jesus is spiritually right there with us, giving us grace in real time (1 Cor 10:16).

Baptism is experiential refreshment.

Why is seeing the baptisms of other so refreshing? Because baptism reminds us of the gospel in a unique and powerful way that listening to a sermon or reading the Bible can’t.

Baptism is a tangible and experiential reminder—something we can see and touch and feel. Have you ever been to one of those 4D theaters? You know, the kind where not only is the picture in 3-D, but you actually feel the wind, smell the scents, and maybe get sprayed with water? Baptism is the gospel in 4D. 

God knows how much we need refreshment, how much we doubt and forget his love, so he gives us baptism as sensory, communal, and immersive refresher. 

Or think of it this way: we all need to hear our loved ones tell us they love us. The hearing is so important. But what if we never felt their love? Would we really believe their words? We don’t just need to hear that love affirmed one time. We need to hear it and feel it over and over again through a held hand, an arm around us, a wiped tear, a hug, a kiss. 

Baptism works the same way. We don’t just need to hear about God’s love for us. We need to see it and feel it and experience it through the reminder of baptism over and over again.  

Is your faith in need of refreshment? Step into the river of his refreshing grace by accessing the means of grace. All of them—including baptism. 

Are you looking for ways to grow in your faith throughout the week? Check out The Crossing's podcasts. Updated daily, there are podcasts for all stages of life to help you believe that Jesus is more.