Grace Poured Out | Wash in the Waters Again
"and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" —1 Peter 3:21
The scope and magnitude of God's love for us is most spectacularly displayed in the saving work of His own son, Jesus, on the cross. It is there in the torturous death of Jesus, blood spilled on behalf of humanity to satisfy the wrath of God (propitiation), taking upon Himself our sin and the sins of the whole world and giving us His righteousness (double imputation), conquering death when He rose from the grave (resurrection); His infinite grace is revealed.
"...the aim of it all is to display the fullness of the glory of Christ, which is the glory of God. Everything that Christ did, and everything that he reveals about himself, and everything that Paul and the other biblical writers teach about Christ, aim at this—that the world would see and savor and show the fullness of the glory of Christ" John Piper, Justification and the Diminishing Work of Christ.
Mercy and grace at the cross highlight the glory of God, revealing His character. It is to this we are drawn. We come with empty hands, souls aching, laid bare, surrendered and through faith we are forgiven, made new, clothed in righteousness we could do nothing to earn or deserve, and adopted as sons and daughters of the King.
“Christ says, 'Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.'” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
We celebrate the grace of Christ and proclaim His glory through baptism. We announce to our brothers and sisters we have trusted in Christ, our old self has died.
"It's what happens spiritually when we baptise people we take them under the water, they die and they're brought back up, and they have this visceral temporal experience of what it meant when they became a Christian" Bob Burris, It is Well with My Soul.
Baptism serves as a celebration, proclamation,and an illustration of what it means to be a Christian not just for the person immersed but for the church as a Gospel reflection.
"Where there is genuine faith on the part of the person being baptized, and where the faith of the church that watches the baptism is stirred up and encouraged by this ceremony, then the Holy Spirit certainly does work through baptism..." Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
Reflect on your own baptism when you need a reminder of the grace of God. The following article examines how baptism keeps God's presence near, "...as a means of grace throughout our Christian lives as we watch, with faith, the baptisms of others and renew in our minds the riches of the reality of our identity in Christ..."
Wash In the Waters Again by David Mathis
Visible words. That was the Reformers’ term for baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
In complement to the spoken words of gospel preaching, these twin rhythms of the gathered church are dramatizations of the grace of God. These “visible words” rehearse for us the center of our faith through images and actions in the God-given pictures of washing, touching, smelling, and tasting. Alongside preaching, they reveal to us again and again the very heart of the gospel we profess and aim to echo. They are enacted “signs,” pointing to realities beyond themselves.
But these ordinances are not just signs, but “seals.” They confirm to us not just that God has done something salvific for mankind, but that it applies to me in particular. The gospel is not only true in general, but specifically for me. And when a Bible-believing, gospel-cherishing church applies the seal to me, it can be a great grounds of assurance that I myself am included in the rescued people of Christ.
In this way, baptism and the Lord’s Supper serve to mark us out as the church, distinct from the world, and are part of what it means for the new covenant to be a covenant — with acts of both initiation and ongoing fellowship, both inauguration and renewal.
View the remainder of the article here...Wash In the Waters Again | Desiring God
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