In the book of Jonah, we have the story of the prophet Jonah. God told him to go to the city of Nineveh to prophesy to the people, but instead Jonah tried to run away from God. He boarded a boat to flee from God, but a great storm arose because of him. He convinced the boatmen to throw him overboard to calm the storm and he was swallowed by a great fish that God had prepared. After three days, the fish vomited Jonah out on dry land and then Jonah proceeded to do what God commanded him to do. When Jesus was asked to give a sign, He said that the only sign that He would give would be the sign of the prophet Jonah. Matthew 12:38-40 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’” Jesus fulfilled that sign by his death on the cross, His burial in a tomb, and His resurrection from the dead on the third day.
This same pattern of death, burial and resurrection is what all true believers in Jesus must follow. Colossians 2:12 “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Romans 6:1-4 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Before you are baptized, you must repent of your sins; without repentance, what meaning is there in baptism? You confess your belief in Jesus and your willingness to make Him Lord. Baptism is a burial in water which symbolizes your death and burial as Christ died and was buried. A ‘baptism’ of sprinkled or poured water would not be a burial and would not fit the pattern of Jesus. You are raised out of the waters of baptism just as Jesus was raised from the tomb. You must have faith in the working of God that you are given a new spiritual life and the forgiveness of your sins.
Jesus addressed the resurrection portion of the pattern with Nicodemus. John 3:3-8 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’’” The early Christians of the second and third century understood that to be born of water and the Spirit referred to baptism. I understand that as well. When you come out of the waters of baptism, you are born of water and of the Spirit and are given a new spiritual life with your sins washed away. Saul was told in Acts 22:16 “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
As a Christian, you need to see your old life as dead so that now you present the members of your body as instruments of righteousness to God in your new life. Romans 6:5-13 “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
This pattern of death, burial and resurrection is a pattern that all true Christians must follow. I encourage you to see yourself as dead to sin but alive to God. Now present the members of your body as instruments of righteousness to God.