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We often miss the obvious. In most churches, we watch hundreds of baptisms. They are all similar. The candidate, the person being baptized, is asked to answer the question: “Who is Jesus Christ?” If the person is a child, the parents, family, and church members are asked to raise the child knowing the answers to this question. The answer is always the same, “My Lord and Savior.” A simple but provocative question and an obvious answer, or is it? What does it mean to call out publicly that Jesus Christ is my or will be a child’s Lord and Savior?

  • Jesus as Lord: This requires that we see Jesus as our master, leader, and ultimate authority in life. We must believe in His teachings and strive to follow His example. This acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord involves surrendering our will to Him and seeking to live according to His principles, not our own free will.
  • Jesus as Savior: This requires that we believe Jesus is the one who saves us from sin and its consequences. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross is our atonement for humanity’s sins, offering salvation and eternal life to those who accept Him.

By professing Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are placing our faith in His redemptive work and trust in Him for forgiveness and eternal salvation. But not so fast! Before we peel this onion, what are the expectations that go with this statement of faith? What is the Fine Print? Are we dependent on theological beliefs, and denominal interpretations, or is it something much greater? Many religions interpret salvation as eternal life with God. Is our belief based on Jesus different?

(John 3:16)[1NIV New International Version Translations – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Our faith in Jesus Christ comes from the belief that He is the Incarnate Son of God and the only Savior of humanity. Our faith involves acknowledging Jesus as Lord and believing in His sacrificial death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins. But there is “fine print.” There are a few things, requirements for this grace—that have been extended to us. Repentance is a crucial aspect of salvation. It involves acknowledging one’s sins, turning away from them, and seeking forgiveness from God. True repentance is accompanied by “a change in behavior” and “a desire to live by God’s will.” If you are not willing to live like Christ, you might want to spend some more time in prayer and reflection before making your commitment to follow Jesus. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes work, it takes effort, and it takes a lifetime.

Human beings were made in God’s image.  “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).  There is no other higher goal for God in His universe. Yet, humans cannot sanctify themselves. The Triune God sanctifies. The Father sanctifies (1 Corinthians 1:30) by the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2) and in the name of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11). God’s plan, however, has been disrupted by sin. Evil in our world deprives us of the good that God intended for His creation, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

What brings you to Christ is a gift from God, given by His Grace. It cannot be earned through good works or personal merit but is freely given to those who accept it through faith. We all seek eternal life with God in heaven. Salvation is not just a future hope but also a present reality that transforms believers’ lives. God has an expectation for you that you experience spiritual renewal and growth as you are conformed to the likeness of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. If no change is present, no sanctification is happening either. It is a wonderful measure to help us on our journey to eternity.

We are called to live lives of obedience and discipleship in response to God’s love for His creation. This includes following Jesus’ teachings, serving others, and living out the values of the Kingdom of God. It is not about baptism; it is not about the water; it is about committing to live a “Christ-like life.” When a child is baptized, those around the child commit themselves to praying for the child, be the child’s teachers, and set Christ-like examples for the child. Why? So that one day, when the child understands who Jesus is, they can answer the question: Who is Jesus Christ? “He is my Lord and Savior!

(Matthew 16:24) – “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.'”

There will be lots of self-denial and a daily willingness to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, even to the point of sacrificing one’s desires and preferences. We may even find that the world hates us for our choices.

(Romans 12:1-2) – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

We are called to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God, implying a surrender of one’s will to His purposes and a transformation of our mindset to align with His will. Jesus was a humble, obedient servant, serving as a model for those who place their faith in Him. Lest we forget, Jesus Himself, chose a public declaration of surrendering His will to His Father. In the Dead Sea Scrolls (found at Qumran), texts describe rituals involving washing, bathing, sprinkling, and immersing. These practices influenced early Christian baptism. John the Baptist, considered a forerunner to Jesus, used baptism as a central sacrament in his messianic movement. John the Baptist’s form of baptism was characterized by immersion in water, symbolizing purification, and repentance. Jesus Himself underwent baptism by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17). With this public example, Jesus instituted the sacrament of baptism for the Christian Church.

(Matthew 3:13-17) – “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”

Today’s baptisms continue to use water and a Trinitarian invocation, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Baptism symbolizes the end of an old way of living, and a new birth (being born again). While baptism represents the forgiveness and cleansing from sin that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, it will also be the public declaration of one’s confession of faith and belief in the Gospel’s message, “Who is the Christ? He is my Lord and Savior.” that draws us into the kingdom of heaven with Jesus.


  • What is your opinion on baptism? Is it a requirement to be saved? Once you are baptized, are you guaranteed to go to heaven?
    • Ideas to Explore: There are a lot of opinions formed on and around baptism based on denominational beliefs. Which ones did you grow up with?
  • Why is a “public declaration” more effective than one done in silence?
    • Ideas to Explore: Human pride, soliciting help from others to live for Jesus, public vows like marriage, courts, etc. depend on them.
  • How do you get to know Jesus?
    • Ideas to Explore: Read about Him in the Bible. Go to church. Attend discussion groups. Watch people who claim to know Him. Please share your story.
  • What is the benefit of symbolism like water, emersion, and public declarations of faith?
    • Ideas to Explore: Could they simplify the mysteries concerning faith? They are seen by many. Marriages and baptisms bring families together. Allow people to relive their vows.
  • Why are sacraments important?
    • Ideas to Explore: Sacraments are Christian rites that symbolize and convey God’s grace and love for humanity. Christ Himself initiated them, representing important spiritual milestones in the lives of His believers. They provide us with opportunities to feel God’s presence more strongly.
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    NIV New International Version Translations