Trusting that God's word means exactly what it says, you have obeyed the gospel by being baptized into Christ to gain salvation (Mark 16:16; 1st Peter 3:21). Now what?
Rejoice. After Philip the evangelist baptized the treasurer of Ethiopia, "he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:35-39), and after Paul and Silas "spoke the word of the Lord to him", the prison keeper in Philippi "and all his family were baptized and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household" (Acts 16:32-34). Joy is the most appropriate reaction to one's baptism because baptism brings about salvation, and there can be no greater event in any person's life than to be saved from the condemnation of hell. Neither material success, nor marriage, not even the birth of one's own children or grandchildren merit as much delight as the knowledge that God's grace has spared you from the consequences of sin. Even the angels of heaven thrill at the news of one repentant sinner (Luke 15:7, 10).
Enjoy the company of other disciples. After appearing to him on the road to Damascus, the Lord sent Ananias to Saul, who "arose and was baptized then Saul spent some days with the disciples" (Acts 9:18-19). Peter went to the household of Cornelius in Caesarea, "And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days" (Acts 10:48). In Philippi, the merchant Lydia believed the gospel when she heard Paul preach it, "And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, 'If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.' So she persuaded us" (Acts 16:15). After the Philippian jailor was baptized with his family, he "brought them", that is Paul and Silas, "into his house" (Acts 16:33-34). "Many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized", whereafter Paul "continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them" (Acts 18:8, 11). Although baptism is the culmination of several steps leading to salvation, it is merely the beginning of one's life as a Christian. Those formative days, weeks, and months following baptism require nurturing from other disciples. The scriptures teach that Christians are and ought to be dependent on one another, "so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:5; cf. 1st Corinthians 12:13-27).
Continue steadfastly. On the day of Pentecost following Christ's ascension, Peter preached repentance and baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), adjuring his audience to be saved (Acts 2:40). "Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And theycontinued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:41-42). We reiterate: although baptism is the culmination of several steps leading to salvation, it is merely the beginning of one's life as a Christian. With baptism, the new Christian commits to a life of faithfulness thereafter. Paul exhorted, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1st Corinthians 15:58).
Lead others to Christ. After Saul "arose and was baptized" (Acts 9:18), and "spent some days with the disciples" (Acts 9:19), "Immediately he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God" (Acts 9:20). Don't be satisfied with your own salvation while others perish! Jesus taught, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16).
What have you been doing since you were baptized?
by Bryan Matthew Dockens
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