Baptism is the outward act that symbolizes the inward phenomenon of coming to and accepting Jesus Christ as real, as God incarnate, as the sacrificial means by which those who believe in him can be forever reconciled to God. The purpose of baptism is to give visual testimony of our commitment to Christ. It is the first step of discipleship (Acts 8:26-39).
The Greek word for “baptism” is “βαπτιζω”. The English letters look like this: “baptidzo.” The Greek word “baptidzo” literally means to “dip” or to “immerse”.
The symbolism of baptism is that, just as Christ died and was buried, so the baptized person is submerged (whether physically or symbolically) under water. And just as Christ rose again from beneath the earth, so the baptized person rises again from beneath the water. Under the water is the believer’s old, dead, heavy, suffocating life. Out of the water, cleansed by the blood of Christ, is the believer’s new, fresh, purposeful life.
Baptism is like a wedding ring. We put on a wedding ring as a symbol of our commitment and devotion. In the same way, baptism is a picture of devotion and commitment to Christ. A wedding ring reminds us and tells others that we belong to someone special. In the same way, baptism reminds us and others that we are devoted to Christ and belong to Him.