Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What is baptism for?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life - Proverbs 13:12

On Easter, some from my church community gathered for a sunrise service overlooking English Bay, Downtown, and Vancouver's North Shore mountains. Stunning.

I baptized one of my students named, Andy.  One day I'll let him tell his story on my blog... In the meantime....let's just say he was unwilling to defer any longer and he longed to step into a new and public chapter of his Faith in Jesus.

In the meantime, let's talk about Christian baptism.  From my perspective, baptism is important for at least 4 reasons:
  1. It is a rite of initiation.  Before baptism, a person may be a christian, but they are "sitting on the bench".  Baptism, launches them into the game.  They are a full participant in the kingdom of God after baptism.  
  2. Baptism is a public declaration of an inward reality.  It is a signifier that our sins have been paid for on the cross and that we experience a bodily resurrection at the coming of Christ.
  3. Baptism is a sacrament (visible form of grace) in public worship.  It is to be a sign, in the context of worship, that points us towards glorifying God and putting him on display.  Thus, it is to be done in public (especially with the family, christian or non christian, present if possible) and more importantly, in the context of community worship among the people of God.
  4.  Baptism is a duty.  Jesus instituted it and commanded us to do it in His name.  Thus, for a real christian, there is no reason to stay unbaptised.  Upon faith, we are to be baptized.  




Those 4 points too complicated?  Not enough points?  
OK...how about this.....

Baptism in a nutshell?  Jesus goes public to the Father about his love for Andy. That He has adopted him as a son and is in a relationship with him through the Holy Spirit. So Jesus made Andy public to the Father. Baptism is about us making Jesus public to one another. So today, it's Andy's turn to make his love for Jesus, public. By being there ready to be baptized, Andy is saying, "Jesus is my Lord and I want to make that public."




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