I recently have been in a number of conversations about Baptism and the view that some students have on the subject. It is clear to me that there is a bit of confusion when it comes to how we (as pastors) and we (as followers of Christ) understand Baptism.
There are a number of passages that help to describe what Baptism symbolizes, but at the heart of the matter, we have to recognize it as just that; a symbol. Baptism by its very nature is in place to be a symbol for what has already taken place on the inside. John baptized people for repentance from sin. To recognize that there would be someone else that would come later that would baptize us in the Holy Spirit and with fire. Basically, "repent and be baptized!" (Cocanower Translation) was John's motto for business.
Now, just as Baptism is a symbol of the change that has taken place inside our hearts, we must recognize the need for a true change inside of our hearts. I think that it's safe to say that we say Baptism is a next step for only some is because of the need to truly count the cost of following Jesus. Baptism tells the World that we are no longer citizens of this world. Baptism signifies a renouncing of our old, sinful nature-filled selves and a pronouncing of Jesus as Lord. That, by its very nature, should be a pretty big step!
My point in this is to say that when it comes to Baptism, we sometimes over-hype the gravity of Baptism. That's a really crude way to describe what I'm thinking, but my point comes when you consider what exactly is taking place. I see it like this:
1. Consider what it means to follow Jesus.
2. Count the cost of following Jesus and the changes that we need to make to fully follow after Him.
3. Make the decision to repent of the sin that attempts to keep us in chains and accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives.
4. Ask Jesus of the above.
5. Get Baptized to recognize the change that is taking place.
In these simplified points, I think that the first 4 can be extremely difficult, sometimes impossible for some people to be able to accomplish. The last of being Baptized is relatively easy when you consider that "the work is done" when it comes to what Baptism represents.
Now, if you want to come and be a part of an awesome celebration, we are going to see 50 people profess to the WORLD that Jesus is their Lord and Savior on Sunday. We're going to party like we've never partied before! Sunday at 4:00pm. I hope to see you there!