Proclaim. Mobilize. Equip.
Call 866-865-6253

Three Ways Jesus’ Baptism Defines Our Identity

April 2, 2019

Baptism is a hugely important part of a Christian’s life and has many facets:  

  • It is an expression of our faith in the message and person of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:37-38) 
  • It is a picture of what Christ has done for us (Romans 6:1-11; Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5) 
  • And, it is a source for our unity with fellow believers (Ephesian 4:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:13).  

However, one of the most fundamental things baptism does is change our identity. Identity is a constant theme in our day. Our culture pulls us to find our identity and define ourselves according to any number of things in your life.  

But for the Christian, in the act of baptism, God does the work of defining who you are. Jesus’ own baptism shows us this.  

Jesus’ Baptism 

What I want to look at is what his baptism tells us about our identity.

Jesus’ baptism is the archetypal Christian baptism. By that I mean: what happens at Jesus’ baptism is demonstrative of what is true of everyone who is a believer.

So, let’s look at Jesus’ baptism: 

1. Beloved by the Father 

Let me start at the end. When Jesus came up from the water, we read that there was a voice that came from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17).  

The amazing reality of the gospel is that in Jesus is that God says the same thing of us. We see this in the letter to the Galatians:  

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5) 

In Jesus Christ, the Father says this of you, “This is my beloved son or daughter, with whom I am well pleased.” You are now defined as a loved child of God, and you have all the benefits and blessings of being one.  

Your status as a child of God is solely dependent on your status of being “in Christ.” This should drive us to live a life of thankful obedience.  

We should wonder at the fact that God has made us his own through adoption in Christ. We should respond with a loving obedience to him. 

2. Indwelt by the Spirit 

Jesus’ baptism took place at the beginning of his earthly ministry. We read in the Gospel of Matthew:  

And behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him. (3:16) 

This marked the beginning of his miraculous and prophetic work in Israel and the surrounding regions. It is clear even from the Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus that he would be anointed by the Spirit for the work that he was called to do (Isaiah 61:1-2).  

Our new identities as believers is that we are indwelt by the Spirit as well. God’s presence is always with us through the Spirit, and the Spirit himself empowers us for all that God calls us to do (Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11). 

Again, this changes the way that we live our lives. With confidence in the Spirit’s work in and through us, we can have fruitful obedience in our lives. Paul encouraged Timothy to continue on in his ministry by appealing to the presence of the Spirit in Timothy’s life when he says:  

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (1 Timothy 1:6-7) 

3. Living in Christ 

Of course, I can’t think of a better picture of the reality that we are in Christ than baptism. Our baptism into Christ is a baptism into his life. Just like Jesus, we have died to our old, sinful ways and have true life in Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-11). 

But our baptism into Christ is also a recognition that we are to strive to live the life that Christ lived. Paul says as much in his letter to the Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) 

We see this reality in Hebrews 12:1-2 when we are called to follow Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Jesus’ life is now the mold that defines our past (we have died with him), our present (we have new life in him), and our future (we will one day be resurrected as he is).  

Our story is already written. 

Remember Your Baptism 

The waters of baptism do not magically transfer these realities to us. Rather, our baptism stands as a tangible sign to us of what God has done in Jesus. He has radically redefined us. So much so that we are now beloved children of God, indwelt by the Spirit in order to live new lives in Christ.  

So Christian, on days when you feel weak in your faith, far from God, or challenge by the life God has called you too, look to Christ’s baptism. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash 

The Author
Dillon Mack

Dillon serves as a missions resident at The Orchard – Barrington. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Exposition from Moody Bible Institute before completing a Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2018. He is passionate about clearly and effectively preaching God’s Word to the church and serving the Lord wherever He may lead him in ministry. Dillon and his wife Kamren have been married since 2019.

Learn more about how to support Dillon or follow him on social media.

Explore this topic further

Craving Control in the Wilderness

After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...

Read Post

Trusting God in a Troubled World

Followers of Jesus have hope in a troubled world. Paul describes it as “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Another way of saying this would be eternal life: life that is not marred by the brokenness all of us know and are experiencing right now. The glory that followers of...

Read Post
For your gift of any amount

Listener Favorites 2020

The most requested sermons from the past year

Get Unlocking the Bible's Weekly Email

"This Week at Unlocking the Bible" features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Share Your Story and Prayer Requests

If you have a testimony or story you would like to share or if you have a prayer request, please use the form below. If you would like someone from our staff to call you, please include your phone number.

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Learn more about resources
to help you face the current crisis and begin living courageously.

Get Unlocking the Bible’s Weekly Email

“This Week at Unlocking the Bible” features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.