A documentary about death is not a film I usually long to see. Enough pain and death exist in the world to prevent me from carving into my budget and time to focus my attention on even more. On the other hand, a documentary about life…well, pop the popcorn (with extra butter) and break out the candy! Show me a film with a hero that is victorious, and I will gladly pay the $15 ticket price and spend two hours soaking it in.
At Veritas Church, we have had the privilege of regularly watching live ‘documentaries’ about a triumphant hero who is victorious over death and brings others into new life with him. Those live films are called baptisms. They are real stories of crossing over from death to life. They are real people who want others to know about the victory they have experienced in Jesus.
Baptism is a way for followers of Christ to publicly broadcast the power of God to their church and the world around them. The water has no saving power. The individuals baptizing have no saving power. The obedient step of being baptized has no saving power. Baptism cannot and will not save people. God is the only one who has the power to save people from their sins, and that saving power is only experienced through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Baptism is simply the short documentary of people who have repented (Acts 2:38), received God’s word (Acts 2:41), and believed (Acts 8:12-13). Baptism shows the world the victorious hero who was revealed in the scriptures. It shows the world who someone believes in for salvation, and baptism is an obedient part of turning your life away from the world and to Christ. Baptism by immersion physically demonstrates the death of Christ, the defeat of sin, and the life that comes from Christ’s resurrection. It is a symbolic live-action film that God himself directed, produced, and stars in as the hero. It truly is a victorious documentary of God’s work in someone’s life.
When we have a chance to witness people getting baptized, we get to watch some of the greatest stories ever told. These are stories of people who were dead in their sins and trespasses but have now been made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-6). Baptisms are more than death stories. They are stories of new life given to people who were once dead.
Next time you have a chance to participate in a believer’s baptism, celebrate! It is not a boring movie. It is not a sad movie. It is an exciting real-life short documentary that points us to the greatest true story ever. In baptism, we celebrate Jesus, our victorious hero. The symbolic demonstration in baptism is great. The chance to proclaim Jesus…well, that’s worth our popcorn, time, money, and most importantly, our lives.