When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12, NLT)
August 27, 2017
A central doctrine of the Christian faith is that of baptism. When discussing our salvation and the centrality of our faith this clear doctrine of baptism can become fuzzy because of our theology, not because of the Scriptures. We must be careful not to separate Christ’s cutting away of our sinful self from our passive submission to burial with Christ in water to physically enact what has happened spiritually.
A SEAMLESS PROCESS
These are not clearly distinguished, sequential steps in salvation by faith. Rather they are the seamless process as one journeys from hearing the word, responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ in faith, repenting of sin and openly confessing Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:5-17). To continue the process we choose to be obedient and follow Him into His death, burial and resurrection to begin a new life (Romans 6:3-4).
Passages like Acts 2:38; 22:16, Titus 3:4-6 and 1 Peter 3:21 should cause us to pause before stating that baptism has nothing to do with the process of salvation. Conversely, it is a mistake to place such emphasis upon the physical necessity of the burial ceremony in water to the neglect of doing as Jesus commanded us to do: to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).