What is Baptism
What Is Baptism?
Through our baptism, we can live a new life of faith and hope now and on into God’s eternal kingdom. Let’s pause on some specific passages that help us see the results of that statement in our lives. Now is not only the time to celebrate the gift of baptism, but to dive into the new life baptism gives us.
Washed and Renewed
Titus 3:5–7 (ESV) he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
It’s easy for us to understand the cleansing power of water, the universal solvent. Baptism is the clear statement that our former condition has been changed. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit to bring renewal that makes all the difference, that brings power to the results of Baptism in our lives. The passage’s “so that” statement names our new identity – heirs. That is our role in the eternal Kingdom of God. Reflect on this question… where does your role begin in God’s Kingdom, some day by and by, or in the here and now of your Baptism? Celebrate life in the Kingdom as an heir would.
Romans 6:3–4 (ESV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
You may be familiar with the ghost scenes from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Ghostly figures appear to Scrooge dragging great chains and loaded trunks. They drag their past with them, even after death. Many people live their lives that way, dragging their past like so much dead weight. This passage in Romans tells us that Jesus death cuts off our connection to our past. We are dead to it, through his redemptive death on the cross. But there’s more – just as he rose from death to new life, we also rise to a new way of living. Does your Baptism come splashing out like you’re walking away from death and toward a whole new way of living? Celebrate your new life chain free! Dive in!
Ephesians 5:25–27 (ESV) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Yes, this passage is addressed to husbands, but the subject immediately turns to Christ and Baptism, so we all need to pay attention. Notice, Paul gives us another “so that” statement. The church is the Bride of Christ and Baptism is the Bride’s day at the spa before the wedding. We get to live our life in splendor honoring Jesus, the center of our life. Dive into your splendor and celebrate today!.
Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The passage in Ephesians prepares us for this passage in Romans. When Paul talks about the Bride of Christ – the church – us - as being without spot or blemish, he’s using Old Testament language describing an animal appropriate for use as a sacrifice. Nothing so-so, nothing close but not perfect. In our Baptism we are made splendorous and perfect. Baptism points us toward our purpose as acceptable sacrifices, but Paul says “living sacrifice”. Baptism prepares us for a life of worship honoring God in all that we do and say. The Holy Spirit doesn’t stop with some water; he continues to transform us into living out the purpose God has given. Have a conversation with God about this mind renewal, about discerning God’s will at every step of your day so it can be seen as a celebration of God’s gift at your Baptism. Dive into God’s purpose for this day!
Matthew 28:19–20 (ESV) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Notice that the baptizing directive is not the end of the sentence. Baptism moves us on to a purpose beyond ourselves and our own lives into the lives of others. We, the baptized, baptize. We who have learned from Jesus, teach others the ways of the Jesus. Our living becomes a reminder to them of their baptism and the way of the Lord in whose name they were (or will be) baptized. Who do you want to be a reminder to today? Be specific, who and how. Make that commitment to God in prayer and walk in His way. Dive in and be sure to celebrate along the way!
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