Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? Romans 6:3 NLT
I enjoyed mine the first time, but the second go-round was traumatic.
Dad was a Methodist minister when I received Christ as my Savior. In their tradition, sprinkling was the form of baptism used. Since I had once almost drowned in a friend’s swimming pool, I was okay with sprinkling. A little water on the head wouldn’t cause a panic.
Then, fast forward six years. Dad switched back to his roots—Baptist. They required baptism by immersion. The fact that I’d already been baptized didn’t matter. Dunking was the only correct way. Since I had no choice, the date was set. I reminded dear old dad how afraid I was of water: “Make it quick.” And he did. In fact, the bangs of my hair didn’t make the baptism. When my face sliced the water, he raised me back up.
Only later in life did I understand what Paul taught about baptism. The act involved more than just getting wet—whatever way a particular church wet a person. Baptism meant I was somehow joined to Christ—even into His death. And the effects of it should last longer than the time it took to perform the act itself.
Regardless of the mode used, baptism symbolizes to us and others that we’ve decided to connect with Christ. He’s forgiven our sins, and we’ve promised to follow His commands. Going under the water—by whatever means—demonstrates we’ve decided to die to the old way of living by the dictates of the old sinful nature.
But this one-time act should have life-altering effects. What the ceremony symbolizes transforms our l lives from that point forward. When we’re baptized into Jesus’ death, we become partakers in what His death accomplished—the forgiveness of sins. As we grow in Christ, sinning should be the abnormal rather than the normal. By partaking in spiritual disciplines and allowing Christ to teach us what being a disciple entails, we learn to live above sinful practices. While sinless perfection isn’t possible, sinning less as we grow in Christ is.
Grace is not a license to sin but the freedom to live above the enslaving effects of sin. Are you living this way?
Father, guide my life journey toward godliness rather than sinfulness.
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