Baptism is God’s grace physically poured out on us to unite us to Christ and His covenant community

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Galatians 3:23-29 helps us understand what baptism is all about:

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
(Galatians 3:23-29 ESV)

Three truths about baptism emerge from this passage:

Christ-centered

 

Covenantal

 

Communal

The primary focus of baptism is not us and our work. It's not even us and our faith. We aren't saved by the quality of our faith or obedience, but by the One in Whom we place our faith. We are baptized into Christ, it's His grace that makes us God's children, and even the faith we have in Him is given by grace. All is gift! 

 

Our union with Christ and His people is tied in to the promise He gave to Abraham all the way back in Genesis (v.29)! Baptism is a physical, sensory experience of the fulfillment of God's covenant to you in Christ. 

 

Individuals receive baptism, but they are baptized INTO a people possessed by God, the church, where there is no Jew, Greek, slave, free, male or female. Before God we are all one in Christ Jesus.