Posted by: Jim Black | September 8, 2008

the “work” of baptism


I believe that a lot of churches have not recognized the importance of baptism to our Christian walk because they have viewed it as a “work.”  The Bible is clear that we are saved by grace, thru faith and NOT by works (cf. Eph 2:8-9).  I think I understand where they are coming from.  If baptism is a “work” it cannot effect our salvation.  Yet I challenged us Sunday to rethink that definition of baptism.  The Bible never defines it as a work nor does it present it as something that WE do at all.  Baptism is something that is done TO us.  If it is a “work” it is a “work of God.”  He is the worker, we are the passive recipients.  He does the baptizing and the forgiving.  We do the receiving of that forgiveness in baptism.  So, baptism is not to be seen as a “work” but rather as a submissive response to the incredible good news that God has acted to save us through Jesus Christ.  And it is through that submissive response to the gospel that God WORKS to save us from our sins. 

Colossians 2:11-13

11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins… NIV


Notice again what is said in vs. 13 of Col. 2.  We were dead.  God made us alive.  We didn’t bring ourselves to life.  God did.  We didn’t do a thing other than to receive the mark of baptism which, like circumcision was the identifying mark of a child of God in the Old Testament, is the mark which identifies us a children of God today.  And God did it!  He baptized us!


So, can I affirm that I am saved by grace through faith and not by works?  Absolutely.  Can I also affirm that baptism is an important AND necessary part of that salvation process?  Absolutely.  Next week we’re going to take a look at the symbolism behind baptism and why that is so very important.  Baptism isn’t just some requirement that God has asked us to do just to see if we will do it.  The act itself is so full of meaning for us!  Join in on the discussion this week…



  1. The water in baptism is symbolic of the Word of God…The word circumcises us (seperates the flesh) and this is the reason I believe that Matthew 24:40 is talking about one person, circumcised by the Word..

    Ecclesiastes 4:15
    I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

    Romans 9:21
    Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

    Notice he says “from the same lump?”

    Here is an example of a circumcising verse which the flesh cannot survive:

    1Jn 3:8
    He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

    1Jn 3:9
    Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

    You could even say Egypt attemting to pass through the water represents the flesh and the word of God….Only Israel (the inward man born by the Word) can survive.

    Another circumcising verse:

    You read this and immediately the flesh is killed…Baptized by fire..

    John 15:2
    Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

    But look at what he says out of nowhere….Joh 15:3
    “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

    1John 3:8,9 also would be one person…..The flesh-the one who sins and the one born of God who cannot sin…The inward man or new creation…So maybe when Jesus said, “be ye therefore perfect even as my father in heaven is perfect,” it was the same as when God said, “let there be light….”

    My favorite story that reveals the power is this Matthew 8:5-10

    Matthew 13:13
    Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

    I have another pearl on these 2 verses if you want to hear it.

    John 6:28, 29
    Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    My e-mail is

    I bookmarked you page as well.

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