“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal (the NIV says ‘pledge’) to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21 ESV).
I often say to a couple who wants to get married that I am far more concerned with their marriage than I am with their wedding. It’s funny how people put so much emphasis on one day, and so little on what follows. They need to be prepared for life together, too!
Similarly the newly baptized Christian should be aware that a lifetime of living is what follows the lovely, memorable ceremony of baptism. Please note that both are important. One should have a wedding before being considered married, and one should be baptized before being considered Christian.
Some factors both have in common:
- Both have a memorable, beautiful ceremony that is intended to solemnize the relationship.
- There is a temptation to emphasize that same beautiful ceremony, however, to the detriment of the relationship that should follow.
- A “pledge” or promise to remain faithful for life is implied in both.
- Those who did not get married, or baptized, are “living in sin.”
- You can put your finger on the moment when you went from “single” to “married,” or from sinner to Christian.
- Forever after, that moment will serve as inspiration for those who remember it.
- Both are lifelong commitments.
Paul compares the Christian life to marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33). Our society seems to hold its commitments as lightly as a pigeon feather. Christianity would look entirely differently if we understood its lifelong nature.