Friday, February 10, 2012

A few thoughts on baptism

Friday Reflection - 2/10/12

My first few baptisms were rather clumsy efforts. Not much has changed in the past 10 years or so! If a person's salvation were dependent upon the proficiency of the baptizer, I'm not sure many would make it!

Seems to me that baptism is - in a sense - a microcosm of the preacher's life. Through his clumsy efforts, usually in spite of his own misgivings, and overshadowed by God's power and grace, he brings a soul into contact with the cleansing element - the blood of Christ (cf. Acts 6:1-4; Heb. 10:22; Acts 2:38; Col. 2:12). 

I've had the privilege of doing this on a number of occasions (I have no idea how many), and it never gets old. 

That's part of the reason why I like to share. At a recent baptism here in Prestonsburg, I asked the father (who is a Christian) if he would let me participate. He seemed shocked that I would ask. Surely, he was going to baptize his daughter. I baptized my oldest daughter. I can't imagine a father missing out on that experience! I can't imagine getting in the way! He was shaking nervous, but took the opportunity to say some encouraging words to her, and to lower her into the watery grave, and brought her up a new person. 

I asked his son - who is about 8 or 9 - to come back with us and help us pull off the waders. He was pretty excited about that! But you know, that little guy will remember that the rest of his life. Won't he be excited when its his turn?  

Baptism is not just another thing that Christians do. It is a one-time thing that sinners do to become Christians. It's also not just something to do for show (though some presume this is so).

It marks the end of the old, and the start of the new. Whenever I am going to baptize someone - every chance I get - I have them sit down with me and read a few of the conversion accounts in the book of Acts. Experiences fade. Even baptisms. I barely remember much of mine now (which, incidentally, was Feb. 8, 1998). But, I am reminded every time I read through those conversion accounts, that I did exactly what they did

It is my desire that all those who I have the privilege of baptizing will be reminded, every time they read those accounts, "That's exactly what I did to become a Christian." 

This small step would stop countless false teachers, and save the doubt of countless false conversion "experiences," which are so prevalent, and hard to undo. 

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