(If you have not read “Case In Point” posted 3/19/2010, you need to scroll down and read it first; then this “But” will make sense)…

     But, yesterday, Sunday, March 21, I met for a talk with someone who has been attending our congregation now for a few months who displayed a different outlook than “cataractmoon.” My friend requested this meeting because she had a certain spiritual desire and wanted Biblical insight into how to proceed. So we opened the Bible.

     She had gotten the impression from her childhood time with the church that religion is something that should be important in her life. For a few reasons, she had gotten away from the fellowship of Christians but as an adult is now checking back in on those latent feelings.

     Hearing the Bible readings and sitting in on Bible study sessions these past few months, she heard about this idea of baptism, the same idea that “cataractmoon” was discussing last week. But where “moon” saw a misplaced belief in a magical charm, my new friend sees the beginning of a life of commitment to her Lord, to the one she needs to save her from sin and guide her spiritual journey.

     After she explained her understanding of baptism, I turned to a few verses about baptism in the Bible that supported statements she had already made:

  • that baptism is the point at which we die to sin (Romans 6:2, 6:6),
  • that it is the beginning of a new life (Romans 6:4, 6:8),
  • that it is connected with a trusting faith in the Lord (Galatians 3:26-27),
  • and that she would be following Jesus’ own instruction that disciples be baptized (Matthew 28:19).

     Only the last of those statements even comes close to being the arbitrary magical charm that some believe baptism to be. But even if one is motivated to be baptized solely by the fact that Jesus instructed it to be done, he would be participating in an act of submission to God’s request, a statement of trusting faith, not a meaningless rite. Then when you add in the understanding that is gained from the Romans passages already mentioned (and similar scriptures such as Colossians 2:12), then you truly see a meaningful exercise (rather than a meaningless rite) that begins your spiritual walk on the right path.

Here are the scripture references cited above:

Romans 6:1-8 (ESV)
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Galatians 3:26-27 (ESV)
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Colossians 2:11-14 (ESV)
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

Gary Greene


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