The Claims of Baptism

Text: Colossians 2: 6-14

Proposition: The claim of Christ upon me is what baptism portrays.

I. The Object of My Faith is More Important than Amount or Intent.

Through the first verses of this chapter Paul commends them for their faith, but particularly he directs to them to the object of their faith, Jesus Christ. In verse 9 he states Christ as the One in whom the fullness of deity dwells, that is Jesus is God dwelling in human form. This is the first step, the object of our faith is more important than the amount of faith exercised. You can be  as devout as you can in terms of how severe you are with your body or which foods you don’t eat, or what give or do in a church but it is Jesus in whom we trust, not my self- discipline. He is the object of my faith, not my degree of piety or obedience or performance.

II. The Object of My Faith, Jesus, Accomplishes My Salvation.

In verse 10 Paul simply says in Him you have been made complete. Jesus is the One who begins my faith and the One who perfects my faith. The essence of the statement Paul makes is that we have been made complete. The term complete is the word ‘pleroo’ (play-ro'-o), which means filled to the full, nothing needs to be or can be added. And it’s a statement of fact, since you have received Christ … you have been made complete in Him.

 

III. The Object of My Faith, Jesus, Has Authority Over Me.

Paul declares that Jesus is the head over all rule and authority, meaning what He says has higher precedence than human leadership, higher precedence than angelic leadership. Christ’s word is supreme as His authority is supreme. What He says… Is. What He commands …Is. He is the head over all rule and authority, and that means me.

 

IV. The Object of My Faith, Jesus, Marks Me As His Own.

Are you willing to hear what this phrase leads us to see? We are a people that are more fiercely independent than the Huns or the headhunters of Papua New Guinea. We are our own, and the idea that we would be marked as a slave is marked, that we would belong to someone other than ourselves violates our sense of freedom and autonomy. In these verses Paul speaks to a Jewish audience reminding them of the history that circumcision marked those males who belonged the nation of Israel.  As early as Genesis 17, God commanded the sign of circumcision upon the people of Israel. It wasn’t an option, in fact if they weren’t circumcised, they weren’t of Israel and they were considered to have broken the covenant between themselves and God. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, all received specific instruction to mark the people as belonging to God, a sign that they were in covenant with God. Why this mark, why was it so important? Was it that males were considered to be heads of the home and the mark upon them covered those underneath their care? Was circumcision a type of something that was much greater to come? However you read verse 11, you see that this new circumcision Paul refers to is one that is done without human hands. The wording suggests that something about who we are inside is put off or put to death when we become connected to Jesus Christ through belief in Him, the way His death on the cross is for us. The phrasing… “by the circumcision of Christ”   refers to Christ’s marking of you as those who believe in Him in this way.

V. The Object of My Faith, Jesus, Marks Me With the Sign of Baptism.

As you read verse 12 three things become evident:

  1. Baptism is a sign and obligation of my being buried. It means something in me has been put to death and I am obligated to live the truth of its death. My old sin nature no longer has full control over me, it’s ability to absolutely control me is dead and I’m to live that truth.
  2. Baptism is a sign and obligation of my being raised up with Him. It means there’s new life in me that wasn’t there before I had been saved. I am now obligated to live and grow in the expression of that new life in me.
  3. Baptism occurs as a result of faith that God has raised Christ from the dead. It means that as surely as Jesus has been raised from the dead just as surely my sin is completely forgiven through faith in Christ.  Just as Jesus rose from the dead and lives eternally with the Father, so shall I. God has made me alive together with Christ.

As a Christian, your sins are forgiven, your debts to God are cancelled, the decrees which would have been hostile to you have been taken out of the way, being nailed to the cross, through the hands and feet of Jesus. The mark that you belong to Jesus, a mark that He spiritually puts upon you, is what Baptism is about! By grace you have been saved, but by baptism you accept and proclaim the mark of this new covenant, the covenant of forgiveness of sin through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Since God has opened your understanding to believe in Jesus Christ, be baptized, in obedience to His command, in profession of your faith and as His mark upon you!

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