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“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:35–38).

IF (1) GODLY SORROW IS MOVING US TO SEEK GOD’S FORGIVENESS, (2) WE BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONE SENT BY GOD TO SAVE US, AND (3) WE ARE WILLING TO BEGIN A LIFE OF REAL TRUST, WHAT SHOULD WE DO? A commitment to God must be made through Jesus Christ, and we have talked about counting the cost of that. But if we are ready, what must we actually do to make the commitment required by the gospel and receive all its joyful benefits?

Repentance. It would make no sense to seek the forgiveness of sins which we refuse to give up, so God requires that we lay down our rebellion and pledge allegiance to His rule. The gospel is a message of “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 24:47), and that means committing ourselves to a changed life.

Confession of faith. Christ’s acknowledgment of His true identity cost Him dearly, and He requires that we be equally open about our faith in Him. The apostle Paul wrote, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Baptism. In Colossians 2:12, Paul wrote that we are “buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” If we are presently “in Christ,” it was in baptism that we moved from condemnation to salvation — our forgiveness was not the result of the water itself or any meritorious quality of our obedience; it was our “faith in the powerful working of God.”

As you can see, there is something special about the act of baptism. Whether we understand God’s purpose in this or not, He has made baptism the doorway, or division, that separates the old from the new. In the gospel of Christ, it is in baptism that our sins are washed away (Acts 22:16). Urgently viewing Christ’s command to be baptized, and trusting the Father to forgive us, we commit ourselves to Christ by dying with Him in baptism (Romans 6:3,4).

“Baptism points back to the work of God, and forward to the life of faith” (J. Alice Motyer).

Gary Henry — +

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