Lesson 15: A Humanitarian by Giving Us Baptism
Study Guide Pages 115-122
There’s a big difference between a baby getting a bath and an adult taking a bath, isn’t there? In the case of a baby, someone must do all the work. They must give the baby a bath. That isn’t the case with adults, who bathe themselves.
The Word baptism simply means to wash. What is so instructive – and important! – is that Scripture consistently describes it like a baby getting a bath rather than an adult taking a bath. It never talks about people baptizing themselves. It always talks about getting baptized. For example, Peter urged people to “be baptized” (Acts 2:38). He didn’t tell them to wash or baptize themselves.
Scripture is so consistent on this point because it wants us to be clear that baptism is not something we do for God. Rather it is something he does for us. Scripture says,
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.Romans 6:3-4
In a miraculous way, through baptism, God connects us to Christ and all its inherent benefits including the forgiveness of sins. When Peter told the people to be baptized, he emphasized this by continuing, “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”
Having the correct view of baptism is so important it emphasizes that God forgives us because of what Jesus did for us and not because of what we must do. This makes baptism most comforting. When you think of being baptized, don’t think of an adult taking a bath. Rather picture yourself as a baby getting a bath – a bath which washes all your sins away.
Key Bible Verses
Through the sermon Peter preached, the people gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost had been brought to contrition (knowledge of sins). They were terrified of God’s punishment because of their sins. They cried out, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) Peter’s response is to lead them to baptism and assures them that in baptism, they are given the “forgiveness of sins.”
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Paul clarifies that believing, having faith in our Savior is not something we can do or even help do. Faith is a gift of God’s grace, worked by the Holy Spirit. This happens by being baptized into his death.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Questions to Consider
- Hearing the illustration of baptism being “like a baby receiving a bath” might make us feel uncomfortable at first. Why do you think this is?
- In what ways is baptism like a baby getting a bath? In what ways isn’t baptism like a baby getting a bath? (Think about the who, what, when, why, and how of baptism and compare and contrast each with a bath.)
- Explain: Baptism is not about achieving; it’s about receiving.
- To whom and what does one become connected to in baptism? When are these gifts received?
- What is the gift from the Holy Spirit given in baptism?
- What comfort does baptism give?
- How does baptism emphasize God as the Ultimate Humanitarian?
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