Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Baptism: A Life United With Christ
Jensen & Jessin Varghese
Carmel MTC, Boston
1. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2. By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Next week we are invited to attend my cousin’s new daughter’s baptism. It seems this summer there have been many baptisms to attend in our Church and we all gather according to tradition for this important rite of passage within our faith. What does it all mean?
Baptism is a sacrament that visually symbolizes the Grace of God. It is the first step in entering into a relationship with God in a Christian’s life. The baptized is typically an infant at the time so that first step is taken on their behalf by parents, godparents, and the community of believers. They promise to raise the baptized in the Christian faith, teaching them the Word of God and nurturing their spiritual growth in the hope that the child will one day make a conscious decision to live a life united with Christ. The oath taken by the elders is repeated by the child as they grow up and take the first communion. It is the time when one recognises and accept the faith of the parents and decides to lead a life worthy of a Christian.
Living a life with Christ means believing in his promises, recognizing his ultimate sacrifice for our sins and accepting him as our Lord and Saviour. Being united with him also means leaving behind the earthly desires of sin. Paul reminds us that through our baptism, we have been baptized into Christ’s death and therefore have died to sin (Romans 6:2-4). He exhorts us to offer ourselves to God to be used for His righteousness, rather than giving in to sin and being complicit in wickedness (Romans 6:13-14).
Therefore, it is not enough to simply acknowledge that Jesus died for our sins. We must be willing to resist temptation and no longer be slaves to sin – for we have been set free from sin through Christ’s sacrifice (Romans 6:6). This can be difficult bearing mind the corrupt world we live in and the allure of money, power and lustful thoughts. We must remind ourselves that “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)In order to truly live a life united with Christ, we need to be able to restrict and limit our attachment to the longings of this world. Only then will that first baptismal commitment, taken on by our parents and community, be fully realized.
Lord God, help us to resist our own sinful nature and the temptations of this world. Help us to focus our lives on serving you. Help us to be instruments of your righteousness in all that we do. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:7-8