Baptism is a step of obedience and it illustrates many aspects of a believer’s new life in Christ. It illustrates the obedience of purification. Baptism pictures the symbolic purification ritual performed by those who have been cleansed from leprosy and sin. Baptism pictures the dedication of a person to live according to God’s standards and is pictured by full immersion. It says to God take my hands, my feet, my heart, my all! But one of the clearest illustrations of baptism is that of identification. Paul writes to the Galatians “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 or female, for you are all one in Christ.”

In His commentary on this passage, Dunnam says, “Paul interjected the matter of baptism into this context because he wanted the Gentile converts to know that there is no reason for them to try to put themselves right by circumcision, by becoming like the Jews…Paul could have added other categories—Catholics, Protestants, professors, mechanics, preachers, domestic workers, whites, blacks—for in Christ all social stations, all cultural labels, all races and nationalities are made of no account in the economy of God.” Wisdom, authority, ability, personality, achievement, education, social status, financial means and any other means of distinguishing people from one another matter at all to God. We are all “one” in Christ Jesus.

Baptism illustrates our identity with Christ and His assertions of essential human equality. It marks the end of any sense of human superiority or distinctions of class, wealth, gender, or racial background. Worldly priorities like these come from human sin and the lies of Satan, not from God’s Word. All human beings are created alike in the image of God. All of us have equal dignity as children of our heavenly Father. For this reason every human being deserves our respect and is the object of the love of God. The teachings of Jesus make this clear. The greatest commandment is to love and worship God, but the second greatest is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The neighbor can be anyone— whomever God brings into my life.

“For in one Spirit we were baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13