Three funerals on Sunday morning

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Yesterday, in our worship gathering, I was privileged to baptize 3 individuals. There was a time when I did not value baptism in the same way that I now do.  Back then, I saw baptism as a kind of ‘after thought,’ something that people did just to affirm their faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior.  It is that, and so much more! With the greatest joy and deepest reverence I walk into that baptismal, trusting God, the Spirit, to be present in that moment of death and life.  Do I believe that the Scripture teaches that people are put right with God through baptism?  I do not. Baptism follows saving faith.  I do insist that we must not devalue baptism as an act of obedience that has spiritual consequence.

These amazing words were inspired in Paul and given to us. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” (Romans 6:4-9, NIV)

Baptism is a moment of burial, a funeral for the sinner in us; and resurrection, our eternal life evident in the act of coming out of the water. Woven through that text is assurance. “If we are united with Him in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection!”  Baptism should be a kind of ‘I know it’ moment. And, from that realization a new way of living emerges, one that is anchored in eternity, the promise of eternal life with God, our Father.

What does that have to do with everyday life?  The choices we make, the things we pursue, come from what we truly believe. IF you take the truth of the Scripture about baptism’s identification with Christ to heart, life will become different.  The old fear of mortality is eclipsed by the hope of heaven. The preoccupation with the feeding and comfort of the body is broken, replaced with a desire to walk with God from here to eternity.

Have you been baptized? Have you affirmed the faith choice to receive the gift of salvation through Christ and entered joyously into the new life made possible by the Holy Spirit at work in you?

The word from the Word today fills me with hopeful wonder. May the Lord bless it to you. Happy Monday! “By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.” (Galatians 3:25-27, The Message)

___________

A New Name In Glory

I was once a sinner but I came
Pardon to receive from my Lord
This was freely given and I found
That He always kept His word

There’s a new name
Written down in glory
And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine
And the white-robed angels sing the story
A sinner has come home

For there’s a new name
Written down in glory
And it’s mine, O yes, it’s mine
With my sins forgiven
I am bound for heaven
Nevermore to roam

I was humbly kneeling at the cross
Fearing naught but God’s angry frown
When the heavens opened and I saw
That my name was written down

In the Book ’tis written
“Saved by grace”
O the joy that came to my soul
Now I am forgiven and I know
By the blood I am made whole

Charles Austin Miles© Words: Public Domain

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