Today at Redemption Church, we finished our second sermon in the series “Blueprints: God Building His Church.” We went through Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 about being Gospel Centered, and we see people coming to turn to Jesus completely for their salvation. It says:

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If you’re not careful to take all of Scripture in context, it would be easy to misinterpret this passage to say that baptism is necessary for salvation. However, it is not. Not long before, in verse 21, Peter explains what man’s response is to salvation. He says:

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Also, we see the thief on the cross (Luke 23) as he is dying ask Jesus to remember him when he comes into His kingdom. Jesus forgives the man and tells him he will be in paradise that same day! The man did not earn anything. He did not become worthy. He just called on Jesus to save him to forgive him. And, Jesus did. Also, baptism is a work, and works are completely useless in attempting to make one right with God. Jesus’ work of the Atonement alone is what has the power to make one right with God. Romans 4:4-5 says:

4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

So, why then would Peter tell people they should be baptized? Baptism is an outer symbol of the inner transformation of the new birth of being a Christian. Think of it as a wedding ring. The ring doesn’t make someone married. It just symbolizes the commitment one has already made on their wedding day, but taking the ring off doesn’t make one less married. Likewise, baptism is a symbol. Baptism symbolizes to the world that Jesus was important enough to identify one’s life with Him. The word in the Greek “to baptize” literally means to immerse something. So, we dunk people in water. It’s also a picture of the Gospel symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

As a church, baptisms are really cool because we get to celebrate with new believers the picture of the new birth and the grace of Jesus upon one’s life. I hope at Redemption Church, we get to celebrate this event many times. If any are curious about baptism, send us an email to