Why do we baptize people in water?
According to 1 Peter 3:21, God uses baptism in our salvation, “not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
So, according to Peter, the water does not save you. In fact, the water does not do anything. Peter says, that water baptism is ‘effective’ because of Jesus. Still, when we are baptized in faith, God uses baptism to bring us into the fullness of salvation.
Scripture says that I was saved first, I am currently being saved, and one day I will be saved. Salvation is past, present, and future. So, baptism, with that understanding of salvation, is a part of that long process in which we trust and participate.
What should I expect to happen when I am baptized?
As Jesus was baptized in water, he received the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17). That is important because there is this relationship between water baptism and the Holy Spirit.
Now, does that mean that the Holy Spirit has not been involved in your life up to this point? NO, of course not!
Paul is emphatic: anyone who belongs to Christ has been indwelt by and lives in the Spirit (Romans 8:9-11). Therefore, in the moment of being “filled with the Spirit,” in water baptism, believers are experiencing a coming upon of the Spirit in a new way.
So, we can trust that when we are baptized, there is a release of the Spirit in a way that was not there before. Sometimes these experiences are easily recognized and felt, and sometimes that is not the case. But, regardless, we can trust that God is present in and through baptism. In other words, the effectiveness of your baptism, doesn’t rest in your experience. As you are baptized, you can be expectant for God to meet and move in your life.