What is baptism?

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Baptism is the washing with water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; it signifies and seals our adoption into Christ, our cleansing from sin, and our commitment to belong to the Lord and to his church.

Matthew 28:19

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.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Commentary

The society into which the Christian is called at baptism is not a collective but a Body. It is in fact that Body of which the family is an image on the natural level. If anyone came to it with the misconception that membership of the Church was membership in a debased modern sense—a massing together of persons as if they were pennies or counters—he would be corrected at the threshold by the discovery that the Head of this Body is so unlike the inferior members that they share no predicate with Him save by analogy. We are summoned from the outset to combine as creatures with our Creator, as mortals with immortal, as redeemed sinners with sinless Redeemer. His presence, the interaction between Him and us, must always be the overwhelmingly dominant factor in the life we are to lead within the Body, and any conception of Christian fellowship which does not mean primarily fellowship with Him is out of court.

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963). A fellow in English literature at Oxford University as well as chair of English at Cambridge University, Lewis wrote literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, as well as theology. His most well known works are Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and The Chronicles of Narnia. A member of the Church of England, his conversion to Christianity was influenced by his Oxford colleague and friend J.R.R. Tolkien.

From Weight of Glory (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 166.

Further Reading

“Vocation” and “Baptism” in Concise Theology, by J. I. Packer.

Prayer

May God open our eyes and give us a certainty that we are true believers, born again, born of the Spirit of God, and therefore children of God, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981). A Welsh medical doctor and Protestant minister, Lloyd-Jones is best known for preaching and teaching at Westminster Chapel in London for thirty years. He would take many months, even years, to expound a chapter of the Bible verse by verse. Perhaps his most famous publication is a 14 volume series of commentaries on Romans.

From Compelling Christianity (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 149.