Saturday, 8 August 2009

Baptism

Baptism is both a personal and public statement of faith. The water is not magic and does not wash your sins away or suddenly make you a religious person. It is however extremely symbolic in that it represents the death of the old old self and the birth of the new self, the commitment of the believer to living in the way of Christ through faith and belief in Christ – his life, death and resurrection. A truly moving and uplifting occasion for those who are being baptised, those who are doing the baptism, and those of the community, friends and family who come to witness this profound and happy event.

My own baptism was like a blur, as if I were not really there in physical actuality. Of course I was physically there, as the wet clothes and extreme cold water can contest to, but it really was something otherworldly and very spiritual in nature. Indeed it was a very profound and happy event.

The baptisms I have witnessed have shown both the faith and the desire of the baptees (if there is such a word) to make a personal and public declaration of faith. Their individual (like mine) statements of faith being a source of encouragement and awe. How people come to faith through both tragic and mundane events and how through such events come to have faith and hope in Christ is always a wonderful thing. It cannot be denied or dismissed as trivial, fanciful or drivel. Adult people coming to faith through circumstances not foretold or enforced is an incredible witness statement. Their lives (as mine was) are changed forever as they are now living their lives through and in faith of Jesus Christ. They are now public ambassadors (disciples) of the Living Triune God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Not just public ambassadors of the Christian faith, but public enemies of evil – Satan if you like – and as such a threat to such evil. Those who are baptised need both prayers of rejoicing and prayers of protection, because like most enemies of evil they will come under attack. May God be with them and may the love of Christ guide them and may the Holy Spirit guard them. Amen

(With Christian love and best wishes to Tim and Bernadette, 25 July 2009, New Life Church, baptised in Park Hill Evangelical Church, may the Lord bless and protect you.)

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