by Mike Benson
She’s a young, attractive lady in her mid-twenties. She approaches you and others in the foyer of the church building Wednesday night just before Bible study. She immediately thrusts out her left hand, spreads her fingers, and displays the sparkling silver band on her third finger. With obvious enthusiasm she announces, “I got married today!”
While the group is still reeling from her initial announcement, she drops a second explosive. “Yes! We’re married, and of course, we’re done…”
“You’re done?” you gingerly inquire.
She smiles back. “You know, silly, we’re married now so we don’t have to work so hard at our relationship, because we love each other.”
Every reader understands this is fiction, but it hopefully illustrates a point.
No right-thinking, mature individual would dare say that just because a young lady has gotten married that she’s done working on her marriage. The ceremony, including the exchange of rings and vows, is only the beginning of her relationship; it is the start of her marriage—not the totality of wedlock.
I can’t help but wonder how many Christians essentially take this very position when it comes to their union with Christ?
So many brethren live under the impression that baptism is the ENTIRETY of the Christian walk and that all an individual has to do is be immersed (e.g., “get married”). Like the girl’s wedding ceremony, it’s as if water is the only thing that matters, and once that rite is accomplished, there’s nothing left to do—no effort is required, no growth is expected, no devotion is to be displayed, and no fruit is to be borne.
Beloved, baptism is essentially the wedding ceremony; it is the time we take Christ’s name (Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). And as important as that is (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:4; 11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-27), the real work (1 Corinthians 15:58; Philippians 2:12) of spiritual commitment to Jesus only starts on that blessed occasion (2 Peter 3:18)! Immersion doesn’t signal that we are finished; it says that we are just beginning to keep our vows to love, honor, and obey the Lord (Luke 14:26).
Are you still working since you got married, or are you done? Was the day of your baptism the end—or the beginning?
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God” (Romans 7:4).