Word By Mail

Devo - Permanent Identification

Permanent Identification
Matthew 28:19

What does baptism symbolize? In this devotion, you’ll see a more profound identification with God and a far deeper meaning in baptism through the definition of two Greek Words. This devotion is taken from the fourth message in the Becoming a Disciple series, titled Baptize.”

BAPTO. BAPTIZO. That’s all the Greek you need to know to understand why Jesus made baptism such a crucial, central part of becoming a disciple. Here are the definitions of those two Greek words you just learned.

BAPTO means to dip. It is a temporary, momentary act. Do you see now what is in your mind when I say, “Baptize,” and you see someone being dipped in water? The Greek word is BAPTO.

BAPTIZO means to immerse to bring upon a permanent change.

Now you’re probably thinking, well, obviously, baptism is the first word. No. Actually, baptism is the second word. What we do to illustrate, to demonstrate baptism is the first word. Bapto – it’s just a dip. But the word that transforms your life for eternity is baptizo – it’s being immersed to bring upon a permanent change.

What we do physically, in what’s commonly called “baptism,” the Greek calls bapto. What we do when we dip someone is a sign; that’s all it is. It’s a sign. It’s a picture of something transformational that has happened in your life that is eternal in scope. That’s why bapto is important because it demonstrates or illustrates a sign of the true meaning of baptism.

In this definition of baptizo, that “being immersed to bring on a permanent change,” there is an identification with that which you are immersed into. There is a permanent identification with that with which you are immersed into.

Here’s the illustration. Maybe you’ve heard it; if you haven’t – hear it now. Use it. To make a pickle (you may have heard how to make a pickle) the Greek words are used.

To make a pickle, you first take a cucumber (which is not a pickle) and you bapto it in boiling water. That means you dip it momentarily; you bapto it in boiling water. It comes out a cucumber. Then you baptizo the cucumber into vinegar. Which means you immerse the cucumber into the vinegar (this is critical) until the nature of the cucumber changes. And when the nature of the cucumber changes, you pull it out, and it’s no longer a cucumber. It’s a pickle!

Here’s the question: Can it go back to being a cucumber? No! It has been permanently identified with the vinegar so that its very nature has been changed.

THAT’S baptizo. That’s baptism. That’s being immersed into Jesus Christ, ultimately, you’ll see, into the Trinity. There’s a permanent identification that takes place that changes the nature of the thing immersed – that’s you and me.