Baptism is a rite which places you as a member of a congregation.
These are common statements one will hear from many Christians from traditions who doubt the full teaching of baptism. It does seem foolish that God would use a weak thing like a splash of water to do much of anything. To maintain that position I had to deal with several passages of scripture that state otherwise.
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:5-7 ESV)
One of the first misconceptions about baptism is whose work is it? If it were merely the work of man than indeed it would have little or no change in a person’s life. The first phrase indicates to us the following activity saves us by Our Lord’s promise. This promise is carried out by the use of a person to apply water and invoke the name of God.
It is then that we realize this is not a work done by us in righteousness but it is God pouring out of the Holy Spirit. This is understood because Jesus said to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And just as the words spoken by him created all that we see and do not see we can trust this promise as well.
This gift justifies us by his grace and we receive this justification through faith. This is the way we receive the gift of the forgiveness of sin by the Gospel being preached into our ears. It is another means that the Spirit uses to deliver the fruit of the cross to us.
Trust this wonderful promise of the good news delivered and live in its peace Amen †