Mark 16:15 - And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned."
As I wrote yesterday's blog I thought about one of the ending scriptures. If you notice, there's an order to the scripture above, Jesus' words. He who believes and is baptized... God is a God of order. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. (1Corinthians 14:33).
Belief must come first. Baptism follows. How can a child have such belief when they cannot even speak or reason? Somewhere in the early centuries sprinkling as a form of baptism was begun. The Greek term baptizo means to immerse. It is a symbol of death and resurrection of our old to our new man when we have received Christ. I believe any child unable yet to reason is secure in God's kingdom despite being born with the sins Adam and Eve initiated. When I came to Christ, it was a decision I made. And from that decision came an understanding of things I'd never contemplated before. This understanding grows.
Our church, as many others do, have full immersion baptisms for children and adults. I happened to be baptized in Lake Michigan one summer. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. He was dedicated as a baby at the temple. We have dedications as well in our church. Dedication does not assure salvation. It is done that the parents of the child will commit to raising this child in the ways of God.
Baptism comes at a time when one can say for certain they believe who Christ is, openly speak those words before others as a form of accountability, then become baptized, to seal it in a manner. It's the washing of the water: There is also an antitype [symbol] which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ...(1Peter 3:21). I couldn't, obviously, say it any better! Symbolic washing to remove the filth of the flesh through (our belief and faith in) Jesus Christ.
When the meaning of dedication and baptism were made known to me it just made sense. Was Jesus sprinkled as a Child? He was given power from on high at the moment of His baptism. I believe while we are given the Holy Spirit at the time of our first admission of belief in Christ, that power is truly released at baptism. It becomes our show of faith in Christ, our true testimony of our belief.
This devotion also showed up in my email the same day. It points out the difference between head and heart knowledge. Baptism comes when we know in our hearts, not our heads, who Jesus is and are able to comprehend what sin is in His eyes.
Acts 2:38 - Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."