Baptism is not only an important thing for one to do as a new Christian, but the experience is also symbolic of our relationship with God on many levels.
Initially, it is symbolic of the washing away of the old. It signifies the end, or the death if you will, of one's childish, earthly ways and the birth of a new creature with higher and better ways.
God, being perfect, can accept only perfection. That would be a large issue for us far from perfect humans, were it not for the new covenant with God. This new covenant is, of course, the sacrifice of Jesus (who IS perfect) in our place and baptism is a public symbol of our acceptace of his sacrifice (death and resurrection) and this covenant. It is also a personal physical experience that can be a tool for us in our relationship with God and our world, for the rest of our lives.
The physical process of baptism can also be looked at in its component parts and can help us understand many things about our relationship with God and how to be successful with this new life as a Christian.
If, when we say we believe, our intent is pure... then, in truth, many of the simpler, more karnel desires we used to know (before Christ) won't be as consuming. Our minds, instead, will long more for a better life. It will want the things that are good. Then, when the old is given away, these fleshy desires won't hold the burning, undeniable, lustful power over us they once did.
The Good Book says to love and to trust your friends. Baptism is nothing if not a display of trust in those around you. You are trusting that they won't let you drown. You are trusting that their intentions are good and you are trusting that when you come back up, no one will be making fun or riddiculing you for what you have done. You are believing that they are there and doing this because they love you. It is the greatest outward step, in professing in public - to the public - that you believe in love and friendship.
What are some deeper implications?
Would a loving God approve of submerging a child in a heavily polluted stream or lake? He probably expects us to take better care of our environment than that.
The hands that do the baptising are rarely those of the parent or spouse, but instead are those of the minister... our spiritual guide (or sheppard) here on Earth.
After baptism, one's old ways... one's old perspective... is gone. At that point your old world will have passed away, just as this Earth and this life will someday pass away.
So you see, a great many questions about one's Christian journey can be addressed simply by looking at how it began.
- Love your God, love your friends and trust them both with what is set before you. We must find a way to help our neighbors AND protect our environment. Our Father will help us if we try.
- We can trust our spiritual guidance with more than our baptism. The wisdom of the enlightened is hard gained and can be the lamp that lights our path.
- Let go of the old ways. Embrace this new beginning. Forget the old rules, they no longer apply. The new rules are much easier and better: