I was baptized more than 30 years ago. Many things have happened in my life since then. There were times when I doubted my conversion, and there were times when I, like Jonah, sought to run from God’s presence. But one thing could never be changed: I had stated in public that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.
I knew what that meant. I took on responsibilities as a Christian, as well as the promises. I would enjoy the benefits of having a personal relationship with God and would receive the promises of eternal salvation given to me by Jesus. When I was placed under the water, I understood this portrayed the death of my old life and sinning self. When the minister lifted me out of the water, I was being symbolically resurrected to a new life now, the new life in Christ.
I can never forget that I came to understand God’s purpose for my life. I can never say: “Well, that was so long ago. I didn’t really understand God’s message of salvation.” Of course I didn’t understand it then as well as I do now, but I understood enough: that God had given me salvation through Jesus Christ. The drama of my baptism ceremony reminds me that, yes, I did understand, and yes, I did declare that I belonged to Jesus. He had already made me his own.
If God is moving in our lives, a time comes when we see how much we need him. We learn that because of sin, we have alienated ourselves from him and the blessings of knowing him. But we also learn of God’s grace given to us through Jesus Christ. He has already bridged the gap and reconciled us to himself. The Holy Spirit has enlightened us about these important truths. We accept God’s promises and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.
Christ has already shown his commitment to us. He has already pledged his love to us. We can portray our commitment and desire by saying “I do” to God. We can be plunged into the watery grave of baptism, and then rise out of the water to picture the new life Christ has given us.