Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Sacrament of Holy Baptism: A Walk from Death to New Life
v11 “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”
Life illustrates an uninterrupted succession of departures and good-byes. The COVID pandemic reminds us of this harsh reality. Death due to natural disasters is a cause to worry. But death as a consequence to conscious decisions by people or communities causes alarm. The holocaust, nuclear bombings, and terrorism involves death-dealing forces. Every generation feels that it is living in the worst of times.
Death is a reminder that the sin principle is at work always. Wretched people that we are! Who can rescue us from this body of death (Romans 7:24)? Romans 6:1-11 illustrates the purpose and function of the sacrament of baptism. Humanity can make the transition from sin into grace through the sacrament of baptism.
John the Baptist preached a Baptism of repentance, inviting the Jewish conscience to embrace a new lifestyle. Jesus' mission was to suffer death on the cross and bring life in abundance to those who follow him. It is like the grain of wheat dying to produce new life by sprouting.
We are baptized into Christ's death, as well as into his resurrection. We too are raised from death by God, so that we may “walk” (Romans 6:4) in the new life. 'Walking' implies conscience-based ethical conduct. After Baptism we are "dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:11)
In the Baptismal rites it was common practice to lay aside their old clothes symbolizing surrender of their old self of sin and death. Something old must die in us for something new to be born. On the Damascus Road Saul must have learned this important lesson that led him to a complete transformation.
The questions are: How can we live in the midst of our sinfulness that leads to the darkest valleys of the shadow of death? Can we experience a complete transformation that allows us to participate in the life-enhancing resurrection of Jesus? The Sacrament of Baptism is the primary requirement for an abundance of life, sustained by the recurring remembrance of the Holy Communion. The holy Sacraments thus keep us in the right track towards eternal life, a life in abundance. By the grace of God, the Sacrament of Baptism provides us the perfect rite of passage from death to life eternal.
Lord, we recall with thankfulness for leading us from death to life eternal. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Grace through baptism not only forgives-it transforms life.
Rev. Dr. Alexander M. Isaac, Theological College, Bangalore
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church