The Obedience of Baptism - LaMorris Crawford

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” —Romans 10:9-10


Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord, your life changes forever. Internal transformation has taken place in your heart and your journey of lifelong sanctification has begun. The outward act of obedience that must follow is the baptism of repentance. This is a non-negotiable command that Jesus has given to His followers. It’s in the Great Commission!


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” —Matthew 28:19


John the Baptist’s entire ministry was based on the mission of baptism so that man’s heart would be circumcised and ready to receive Jesus. Even Jesus was baptized by John—fully immersed, not halfway dipped, not sprinkled. Matthew 3:16 tells us that “as soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water.” You can’t come “up out of” something that you were never under, can you?


But why did Jesus have to have to be baptized if He was sinless? To fulfill our righteousness and to exemplify obedience to us. Jesus has always been our example, paving the way for lives to reflect His.


We were saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), and baptism is the display of that faith. Who are we to pick and choose which of God’s commands we want to obey? Just because we say we believe in Jesus does not make us true followers of Him. There are some professing Christians who are not disciples of Jesus. Just look at Judas—he was among the followers of Jesus and performed many acts, yet he himself was not following God. When he betrayed Jesus it was made clear that his actions did not match up with his words.


But Jesus’ whole life was an act of obedience to God. At the moment when Jesus was baptized, God responded from Heaven:


“This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” —Matthew 3:17


Jesus always wanted to please His Father and Scripture says that God was “well pleased” with Him. In the same way, when we obey God’s Word, our Heavenly Father utters to us, “You are My child, with you I am well pleased.”


If you are a professing Christian, you are called to be a disciple of God. As disciples, we need to become like Jesus. When we become baptized, publicly proclaiming our faith in our Lord, we are imitating our Leader.


God is not building a social club, He’s building an army. We cannot allow the mission and tenacity of the Gospel to be minimized. We must stand strong in our faith and publicly display the Word of the Lord through our lives. If you casualize your faith, you will become a casualty. Most of the disciples of Jesus died as martyrs but they live on for eternity with their Leader! They were bold for what they believed in and carried out the mission of obedience to the days of their deaths.


What right do we have to be passive about our saving faith? Are we afraid to confess the name of Jesus? People want to live comfortably, but I, for one, refuse to be a part of it. God has provided something much greater for us. We must live like it!


—LaMorris Crawford, Chaplain of the Cincinnati Bengals


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