“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
I don’t have the actual data in front of me, but if I had to take a wild guess, I would say that one of the biggest things Baptists are known for is… (wait for it) – baptism. We didn’t invent it (theological spoiler alert – John the Baptist wasn’t actually Baptist), but we put a big emphasis on it because of all that it symbolizes.
Baptism by immersion (dunking) symbolizes our decision to die to ourselves (Luke 9:23), identify with Christ in his death (Galatians 2:20) burial and resurrection, and come into new life (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is an image of complete cleansing and a testimony of our allegiance to the King.
Paul is also stating here that baptism, is like putting on Christ like a garment. This garment identifies us as part of his family, making us heirs with him and equal with one another. This was a radical statement in Paul’s time. Each comparison he used (Jews and Greek, slaves and free, men and women) had well-known hierarchies and separations in their culture. In the New Testament period, it was common for people of similar social classes or trades to eat together on a regular basis. The early church, once it understood and embraced the concept Paul explained here was unique in that believers from all walks of life (those mentioned above) would eat, fellowship and worship together.
Early Christians were baptized as soon as they believed, not for salvation but a testimony of it. And we still celebrate today when a new believer is baptized into the fellowship for those same reasons – identity and community.
While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions:
- Have you participated in the beautiful symbol of baptism? If not, what’s holding you back?
- If you’d like to be baptized email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you?
Explain – what does the passage mean?
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today?
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Today’s post is by Jon Price, Associate Pastor