A Pledge to God

by John Yoder on February 9, 2014

A couple of weeks ago, on January 26, 2014, HRBC held its first baptismal service.  Afterward, several people commented that our baptismal service was very different from what they had previously experienced, for a couple of reasons: (1) they mentioned that the importance of ordinance was stressed; (2) some appreciated that the meaning of baptism was explained to them;  (3) most noticed that the focus wasn’t on the testimony of man to the world, but on the dialogue between God and the one being baptized.

This last observation comes from 1 Peter 3:21 which served as the text for the sermon, “Baptism Now Saves You.”  It teaches that part of the essence of baptism involves the Christian giving an “answer (or pledge) from a good conscience toward God” (NKJV).  In the act of baptism, God is asking us to give an account of ourselves and we are answering Him by confessing our faith in Jesus Christ and committing to live in obedience to Him.  The believer pledges to God by going down into the water that he has died with Christ and by coming up out of the water that he has been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life.  The very act of being baptized is a solemn pledge to God.

But in order to draw out the essence of this pledge, the person being baptized makes vows to God.  Again, these vows are inherent in the act of being baptized, but they are vocalized at the time of baptism for the sake of greater clarity.  For those of you who asked me about them, here are the vows which are made at the time of the baptism:

1. Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner in the sight of God, justly deserving the wrath and curse of God, and without hope if not for the sovereign grace of God?  I Do

2. Do you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon His righteousness alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?  I Do

3. Do you resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as a new creature and as becomes a follower of Christ?  I Do

There is more.  Perhaps the most important part of baptism is what God says to the one being baptized in response to his pledge, though, you’ll have to listen to the sermon to hear about His pledge of salvation.  For now, remember your baptism and the vows that you made before God, as Peter encouraged his readers to do.  Don’t turn back, but keep trusting in Jesus Christ and living for Him in the abundant grace which God provides.

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