Stage 1

Water Baptism

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." Matthew 28:19 (see also Acts 2:38-41).
To be "baptized" means to be "totally immersed". When a person believes in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, they are to be baptized or immersed in water. Why would Jesus command that his believers do such a strange thing?

Baptism is a Picture

Understanding water baptism is the key to a victorious Christian life. The act of going under the water and rising up from it again is a picture of what has happened to the Christian. In baptism, the four stages of Christ's redemptive work on our behalf are enacted out:

He died...I died in Him

"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin..." Romans 6:6.

He was buried...I was buried in Him

"...We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death..." Romans 6:4.

He rose...I rose in Him

"...in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection" Romans 6:4-5.

He ascended...I ascended in Him

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" Ephesians 2:6 (see also Col.3:1).

Water Baptism is...

My funeral service!

A burial service is not designed to kill someone off. It is only performed when a person is dead already. And so, because you have "died" in Christ, you bury your old life in water baptism. Baptism is a declaration to God, to the world, to Satan and to yourself that the old life is dead and gone. The old you - which was an enemy of God (Colossians 1:21) - has been buried.

My resurrection to new life!

You rise out of the water demonstrating and declaring you are a new creation in Christ!
"The death [Christ] died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" Romans 6:10-11.

The Two Kingdoms

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" Colossians 1:13.
Every man and woman born into the world is born into the dominion of darkness - as slaves of Satan's power. There is no way out of this spiritual kingdom except by death, and there is no way into the Kingdom of God except by birth. On the Cross and in His resurrection, Jesus became both our death and our new birth. This is what we declare in baptism!
"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" 1 Corinthians 15:22 (see also Romans 5:12).
In God's sight, the world has only two kinds of people - those who are "in Adam" and those who are "in Christ."

In Adam

Adam was a representative Man. He was the father of the human race. When Adam sinned, he opened the door to death and judgment for every generation to come. Every person born into the world was born "in Adam."

In Christ

God did not try to patch up fallen humanity. Instead, He put an end to that race on the Cross and began a whole new race in Christ. Like Adam, Jesus was a representative man. He was called the "last Adam." When Jesus died, He hung on the Cross as the last of Adam's race. But in His resurrection, Jesus rose not as the "last Adam" but as the "second man", the beginning of a whole new race of humanity - the New Creation.
"So it is written: 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven" 1 Cor.15:45,47 (see Rom.5:12-19).
In baptism we are declaring that we are no longer part of Adam's fallen race but are a part of the New Creation in Christ.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (see also Eph. 2:10).
Two Old Testament stories illustrate what baptism means to us:

The Exodus

"For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 (see verse 11).
For the people of Israel, the Red Sea was a barrier between the old and the new. When they passed through, they left the armies of Pharaoh drowned in the sea. But although they came out of Egypt, God had great difficulty getting Egypt out of them (read Exodus 16:3;17:3; Numbers 11:4-5; 14:2-4). Baptism for us not only testifies to our personal "exodus" from the world; it also marks the taking of the world out from us!
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" Galatians 6:14.

The Flood

"...God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you..." 1 Peter 3:20-21 (read also verses 21-22).
The Flood was God's judgment against a race of men who were beyond help. In the same way, baptism marks the cutting off of the old creation and the start of the new creation life in Christ!
"...having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead" Colossians 2:11-12.


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