In his first recorded sermon to the Gentiles, the apostle Paul declared that God fulfilled the promises made to the Patriarchs “in that he raised up Jesus as it is written, thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee” (Ax 13:33). Therefore, in the spiritual sense, the resurrection day was Christ’s birthday as the Son of God. Paul expands our understanding, “who was declared the son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom 1:4). So, by the resurrection God declared that Jesus was his son. Yes, Logos existed with God and was God from eternity, before time was; yes, God twice declared from heaven, "This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” Yet, the resurrection was the final stamp of approval that made it official and proclaimed to all, “Thou art my Son.”
I believe the tomb was empty that Sunday morning so many centuries ago. Do you? Jesus appeared to hundreds who would witness to all who would hear, “He is risen” (1 Cor 15:5-8). That resurrection is a historical fact and its impact is measured in the lives of thousands, then and now. Has that glory touched you?
Paul declared that baptism replicates the resurrection (Rom 6:3-6). We are buried (immersed) in water as he was buried in the earth; we are raised (not drowned) from that water to new lives. It is by the “working of God” that this baptism is a declaration, “Thou art my son.” If one does not believe in Jesus, if his dedication is not with all his heart and soul and might, then baptism is just a dunking. If he does, then God works through Jesus’ resurrection, making a man’s emergence from the water a resurrection from the death of sin into a life of sonship (Col 2:12).
Being a “good person” is not enough. I must ask myself, “Have I truly begun my journey of faith by the commitment wherein God declares, ‘Thou art my son?’” From baptism, I must press on. I cannot doubt the seriousness of Paul’s commitment and yet even he prayed “to be found in him…having a …righteousness through faith in Christ that I may know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phil 3:9-10).
Baptism is not merely a one time action; it is a commitment to sonship that determines the choices we make and the way we live. God declared that we were His children based upon our absolute commitment at baptism. He continues to declare that we are “in him” because we live in the power of Jesus’ resurrection and are overcoming daily through him (1 Jn 4:4).
We must all ask, “Does my faith overpower life so that God continually declares, ‘Thou art my son?’”
…because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:20-21