June 26, 2017

 Romans 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

The denomination in which I am involved, the PC(USA), permits baptism by emersion. That means we could take the person to a river or pool or tank and totally submerge them for the sacrament. We never do it. Most of the baptisms we perform are for infants even though I have baptized a few adults, but we always sprinkle or pour a minimum of water on the person’s head. As a result we often miss out on the visual symbolism of the above verse and there is a loss in that. But we emphasize that it is not the way the baptism is performed or the person administering it that is central to the dying and rising with Christ mentioned above. It is the response of faith by the one being baptized that is most significant (or that of the family for a child). We partake of Christ’s death and resurrection by faith and baptism is, in the words of the Reformation, the sign and seal of that. If you are in the water this summer you can easily submerge yourself and feel what it is like to be in an environment that won’t sustain your life and then feel the joy of filling your lungs with air when you come up. That’s kind of what Paul is talking about here. We are together by faith with Christ in his death so that we gain a new life by being together with him in his resurrection. The result is walking in a new life. This week will you live in an environment that won’t fill you spiritually or will you try living in newness of life?

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