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Posts Tagged ‘Romans 6’

[For a baptism service]

It is Jesus himself who told us to baptize those who come to faith in him. He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” – Matthew 28:19-20.

But, before we actually put Jesus’ words into practice this morning, let’s remember together the message that water baptism proclaims.

Water Baptism and the Red Sea Crossing

 

Water baptism is a testimony to salvation in Jesus, patterned on the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel.

In Hebrew thought the deep waters represent judgment and death; they are seen as evil. Well, just as the waters of the Red Sea blocked Israel from escaping Egypt, so the waters of judgment and death for our sins keep us away from God and in bondage in the world.

And just as God delivered the Israelites by making a way for them through the waters, so through Jesus God makes a way for us through the waters of judgment and destruction.

This salvation has five parts:

  • Just as Israel left Egypt behind; their slavery and misery, when we come to the waters of baptism, we testify that – 1. We have left our old sinful life in the world behind through repentance.
  • Just as Israel was set free from judgment and death as they went through the waters of destruction safely to the other side, when we go through the waters of baptism, we testify that – 2. We are set free from judgment and death; that we are forgiven; that our sins are washed away.
  • Just as Israel received the Spirit when they came up on the other shore, when we come up out of the water “on the other shore,” as it were, we testify that – 3. We have received the Spirit.
  • Just as Israel became a new people, no longer slaves but God’s people, when we come up out of the waters, we testify that – 4. We are now a part of a new people; the people of God; the church. We have a new identity in a new community.
  • Just as Israel committed to obey God at Mt Sinai, when we come up out of the waters, we testify that – 5. We are committed to obey God, as Jesus said in connection with baptism, “to observe all that I have commanded you” – Matthew 28:20.

 

So when we are baptized, we testify to this salvation; that all five parts of this salvation are real in our lives.

Water Baptism and the Cross

There is another layer to the message of water baptism and Paul speaks of this in Romans 6:4. He says, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

If we see the cross in the middle of the water, it helps us to see this:

  • On the left side of the cross is our death – death to our old life in the world, and the judgment and death that come with this.
  • On the right side of the cross is our resurrection to new life in Christ – Spirit, community, new way of living.

In either case, looking at the crossing of the Red Sea or using the cross of Christ – the message is the same.

When we are baptized we testify that this salvation is a reality in our lives. And this is the testimony of those coming forward this morning, as you will both see and hear.

William Higgins

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