Baptism is the outward physical demonstration of Gospel truth. When you believe the Gospel you are identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism physically does to you what has already spiritually happened to you by faith.
“Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).
Buried and raised up, that’s what Christ did. By faith we identify with Him in this. Baptism literally shows this happening to us with the dunking in water deal.
The significance of this new life blows by us though. Colossians 2 has some other stuff to say about this new life. We’ve already talked quite a bit about losing your grasp on your physical identity. Here’s another bit:
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (2:6-7).
Baptism isn’t just this thing you do this one time and now you’re saved and all spiritual obligation is gone.
Baptism represents your new birth, you being raised to new life. Baptism is the beginning of a new life. It’s not the end-all of Christian obligation to enter heaven, as many church traditions teach.
We have a new life in Christ. Colossians 2 goes on to talk about Christ cancelling the sin against us. He took care of the part we couldn’t take care of. We can’t remove our sin, but Christ can and does through the Gospel.
The result of that is not a free pass to sin more. The result is a new life lived in Christ.
The simplicity of the Gospel is beautiful; unfortunately Colossians 2 tells us many people don’t want you living this simple Gospel life.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ” (2:8).
Instead of living this new life in Christ you’ll start listening to people. You’ll start adhering to human traditions. As he says later in Colossians 2 you’ll get sucked into rules: touch not, taste not, handle not. You’ll do better at listening to traditions and rules arbitrarily invented by people than obeying your Creator and Savior.
People get sucked away all the time from this simple new Gospel life in Christ.
Human tradition is often tied in with family. “This is what my parents and grandparents did so therefore I have to too.” Or, some go the other way, “Since this is what my parents and grandparents did, I’ll do the exact opposite.”
In the end what your parents and grandparents did has absolutely nothing to do with YOUR stand before the Lord. It’s YOU before God. You, all by yourself, alone, you.
The fact that your mom says you’re saved because she got you dunked in water when you were a kid matters none at all. If you had no idea what was going on when you were baptized, then you weren’t baptized. Do the right thing before God. He’s more right than your mom.
“But my mom says if I don’t baptize her grandbabies they will go to hell.” Your mom isn’t God. Don’t trust her take on how people get saved. Go with God on that one. Then maybe share the Gospel with your mom cuz she’s messed up.
Stop listening to people and tradition. Read the Bible. Stick to what it says. It’s much simpler, more freeing, and actually gives new life. Your mamma may have given you physical life; she can’t give you spiritual life. Listen to the One who can save body and soul.