“Go therefore and make disciples.” Matthew 28:19 NKJV
UNLESS YOU are committed to following Christ in every area of your life, baptism just means you go down into the water dry and come up wet and unchanged. Note carefully what Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (vv. 19-20 NKJV). In baptism you publicly declare that you are trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for your salvation. But it means more than just being immersed in water. It calls for: (1) Being immersed in the principles of Christ. “Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” Note the words “all things.” This is not an à la carte menu where you pick what’s palatable to you and leave the rest. Incomplete obedience—is disobedience. (2) Being immersed in the purposes of Christ. “Go…and make disciples.” The new birth constitutes the first 5 percent, and that can take place in an instant. Discipleship constitutes the other 95 percent, and that requires following Jesus twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. (3) Being immersed in the presence of Christ. “Lo, I am with you always.” This calls for cultivating a sense of His presence in all you do. His abiding presence should govern you, motivate you, and focus you on doing His will.