The Rest of Your Life
This Sunday, we kicked off our new series on baptism – called “In With the New”. As I said on Sunday, baptism is all about being “in Christ” – and as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5,
if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, everything has become new!
So out with the old, and in with the new.
I spoke about baptism as being relational, rather than magical. It’s all about a relationship (being “in Christ”), and so a good way to think about what baptism is is in terms of another relationship: a marriage. And here’s what I said about that…
Baptism is to your relationship with Jesus, as your wedding ceremony is to your relationship with your spouse.
At your wedding ceremony, you take your relationship with your beloved public…you ‘put a ring on it’. You make your vows and promises before God, your family, and your friends; you invest physical things with great symbolic meaning (rings, candles, veils, etc.); and you set forth to live the rest of your life according to the meaning of and direction set by the ceremony, looking back and remembering what promises you made that day.
Baptism is very similar: it’s when you take your faith in Christ public, confessing your allegiance to Him before God and your family, symbolically re-enacting your dying, burial, and rising with Christ, and setting the meaning and direction for the rest of your life of following after Christ.
So to take this analogy a few set further…
Just like with marriage, more important than the ceremony is ‘the rest of your life’ part! Just like a wedding is just the start, so it is with baptism. It’s just the start. At our bible study this morning, one of the men observed how easy it is to go off track in our relationship with Jesus, how easily and subtly things can start to slip away or come between us, and how we need to keep alert to it. And that too is easy to illustrate from marriage. How easy is it for bad patterns, uncaring tendencies, and selfish thoughts become the norm – which slowly chip away at our marriages? How easy is it for us to neglect some critical part of our marriages so that before we know it, we’ve wasted too much time? How easy is it for the routines of marriage to become too routine? The same is true of our relationship with Jesus.
So think back to your baptism – remember those promises made, remember how you got to those waters, remember what Jesus has done in your life…and ‘renew’ your vows in this season of faith.