What is the ‘REAL’ SIGNIFICANCE of WATER BAPTISM? "How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection…" (Romans 6:2-5)
In ancient times, baptism was an act to identify with a particular group. The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek word ‘baptizo’ which means to dip, immerse or submerge. In the Jewish culture, baptism was a rite of passage for a Gentile who converted into Judaism. It was a purification rite of the washing away the old life of pagan thinking and embracing Jehovah as the One True God. It was John the Baptist who introduced baptism by inviting both Jews and Gentiles to the baptism of repentance in order to get right with God.
A Christian baptism or believer’s baptism is associated with a confession of faith and repentance of sins just like an ancient soldier’s oath of loyalty. It is a public confession and witness of the inward faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is associated with both repentance (Acts 2:38) and discipleship (Matthew 28:19), and indicates our union with Jesus Christ as we identify with His death, burial and resurrection.
For us who have died to the world and in Christ, the death of one way of life means that we have a new glorious normal reality so that we can walk in the ‘newness of life’. Through baptism, we put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). To be in Christ through baptism is to share in His life, in His death, and in His resurrection. This is the real significance of baptism!
Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)