Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Holy Baptism: Born from Above
 

Daniel Thomas
Orlando MTC
for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
 
In the early church the ceremony of baptism was the only means of becoming a member of the Christian church, and that practice has remained so ever since except a few Christian groups.  The Salvation Army is one.  Churches may differ the “when” (age), and the “how” (mode) of baptism.  There is no difference, however, of the purpose and meaning of it.

Baptism is the outward act of an inner experience.  It is one’s union with Christ as well as an identification with the death and resurrection of Christ (Mark 10:38).  Paul, in Colossians, makes the same point (3:1-3).  In baptism the person dies and rises again. It is like being resurrected to a new life.  He says in Galatians, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (3:26-27).  He also emphasizes the unity with Christ in his letter to the church in Rome as well, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  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” (6:3-4).

Paul, in talking with the baptised person, reminds them that when the individual emerges from baptism they are a different person, and they must show the difference in his/her life.  They can no longer be concerned with the trivial passing things of the world, they must be totally concerned with the eternal verities of heaven (Col. 3:2). The baptismal grace and the experience received in baptism is not a one-time deal but one has to grow to the fullness or maturity of that divine experience (2 Cor. 1:22).  “This doesn’t mean that they withdraw themselves from all the activities of this world and do nothing but contemplate eternity.  Immediately Paul goes on to lay down a series of ethical principles (vv. 5-10).  So it makes clear that the new person as a result of baptism to go on with the work of this world and to maintain all its normal relationships.  At the same time, he/she should view things against the background of eternity and no longer live and act as if this world was all that mattered” (William Barclay).

As baptism is incorporation into the corporate body of Christ, the baptized believers belong to Him.  Therefore, the life - look, talk, actions, relationships, etc. - should reveal this reality.  Paul says that, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:1-2).  Just as a child learns to model the behavior of a parent, believers imitate Christ when they allow His character to flow through their daily lives.  The primary way to imitate our heavenly Father is to follow a pattern of love in all that we do or say.  Moreover, we are also the partakers in His redemptive work.  This is the great commission that the risen Christ gave to His disciples, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

PRAYER


Merciful Lord, Thank You for the great privilege to be called your children by the blood poured out on the Cross for us.  Help us to become partakers in Your redemptive work.  Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
"Lord, make my life a window for Your light to shine through and a mirror to reflect Your love to all I meet."  Robert Schuller