The Importance of Baptism
 

by Rick Warren
Pastor, Saddleback Church

Healthy families have family pride; members are not ashamed to be recognized as a part of the family. Sadly, I’ve met many church members who’ve never publicly identified themselves with God’s family—by being baptized.

Baptism is not some optional ritual, to be delayed or postponed. It signifies your inclusion in God’s family. It publicly announces to the world, “I am not ashamed to be a part of God’s family.” Jesus commanded this beautiful act for all in his family:

For years I wondered why Jesus’ Great Commission gives the same prominence to baptism as it does to the great tasks of evangelism and edification.

Why is baptism so important? Because it symbolizes one of the purposes of your life: incorporation into the fellowship of God’s eternal family.

Baptism declares your faith, shares Christ’s burial and resurrection, symbolizes your death to your old life, and announces your new life in Christ. It is also a celebration of your inclusion in God’s family.

Your baptism is a physical picture of a spiritual truth. It represents what happened the moment God brought you into his family.

Baptism doesn’t make you a member of God’s family; only faith in Christ does that. Baptism shows you are part of God’s family. Like a wedding ring, it is a visible reminder of an inward commitment made in your heart. It is an act of initiation, not something you put off until you are spiritually mature. The only biblical condition is that you believe.

If you haven’t been baptized as an expression of your faith in Christ, do so immediately, as Jesus commanded.

The Bible says, “Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn't ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11, CEV).

Let that amazing truth sink in! Because Jesus makes you holy, God is proud of you. Being included in God’s family is the highest honor, the greatest privilege you and I will ever receive. Nothing else comes close. Why not pause right now and thank God that he included you?

“Praise God for the privilege of being in Christ's family and being called by his wonderful name!” (1 Peter 4:16, LB).

NOTE: This article is reprinted from the website www.Pastors.com. Copyright 2003 by Rick Warren. Used by permission. All rights reserved. It was excerpted from Rick Warren’s New York Times Bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life.