Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Monday Meditations: The Blessing & Suffering of Baptism

on August 26, 2013

{On Mondays, I share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s 🙂 ) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

waterYesterday, my husband preached on baptism, followed by his baptizing three members of a family during our worship service. What an incredible blessing to dwell on the Gospel, then watch it in action, so to speak, as three believers in Jesus Christ made public their professions of faith. Each of their testimonies gloried in God’s grace to them, as they recounted to us how God had made them a new creation through Jesus Christ.

As I listened to their emotion-filled testimonies and saw their tears, as well as those in our congregation, I was reminded (as Dave also challenged us in his sermon) of the significance of baptism.

 The Symbolism

Romans 6:3-5 ~ 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. 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.

The immersion of a believer symbolizes what Christ has done for the believer. Christ died our death for us. Just as he was powerfully raised from the dead, we have the same power to live holy lives! Thus baptism symbolizes our union with Christ as well. Romans 6 goes on to describe the freedom from sin that is ours because of our “dying with Christ.” Baptism symbolizes the end of our enslavement to sin!

The Suffering

As we sat in our comfortable seats in an air-conditioned auditorium and watched Dave baptize three believers in a warm, clean baptismal, I couldn’t help but compare our situation to the rest of the world. I did a quick google search on persecution and baptism this morning. Plenty of current results popped up. People all around the world are being persecuted for baptizing believers and for being baptized.

I suppose we could say that we in America are fortunate. But part of me wonders if we really are. Do we truly count the cost? Do we really understand the significance of baptism?

 I have been reading through 1 Peter, and the book is full of discussion about suffering. And baptism falls right in the middle of that discussion. 1 Peter 3:18 tells us that Christ also suffered for our sins, then verse 21 says that “baptism. . . now saves you.” My husband helped us understand yesterday that this verse does not teach that the actual, physical act of being baptized saves you, as the following phrase in the verse explains: “not as a removal of dirt from the body.” Rather, baptism is the symbol that we have appealed to God as the only means of our salvation.

Then 1 Peter 4:1 states

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking.”

We have to arm ourselves with the mindset that we will suffer as well. Much of Christianity in the world today (and past!) has done this. They have counted the cost. And many of them have died or suffered immensely.

After our church’s baptismal service, we hugged and shook hands and went on with our day. I am certain that those baptized yesterday did understand the significance of their baptisms. There was great joy.

Yet Peter tells us that we should arm ourselves to expect suffering. Suffering for Jesus Christ, as He suffered for us. Our responsibility is to live holy lives that correspond to lives that have been unified to Christ as symbolized by our baptism. Baptism is that first, public profession that we are Christ’s. Our lives should be the continuous profession that we are his as well. A life well-lived for Christ will suffer in some way.

Have you armed yourself with the mindset that you will suffer? Have I? Is your life worthy of suffering for Christ? Is mine?

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