The only comfort in life and death

Yesterday I highlighted Acts 2:38 where Peter preached to a huge crowed in Jerusalem and told them this:

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Yesterday I talked about repentance.

Today I’d like to say a word about baptism.

First, I’ll leave the discussion about adult and infant baptism for another time.

Second, the waters of baptism are not magic juice that get you into heaven. That’s an important point. If someone has come to believe in Christ and then happens to die suddenly before they are baptized, God’s not going to reject them on a technicality. Why? Because biblical teachings don’t make salvation dependent on baptism.

Third, baptism is what we might call a sign and seal of our new union with Christ. It is a very special moment that symbolizes dying to our old life, being washed and forgiven of sin, and being raised up through the waters into our new life in Christ. We emerge with a new allegiance, loyalty, and purpose in life.

Think of a wedding ceremony. I’ve led many of them. When the couple gets married, they make a commitment to one other, and then they exchange rings. The ring doesn’t make you married; and if you take it off you’re not all of a sudden not married. It is a reminder of the union.

Just like baptism.

If you’ve become a Christian, have you been baptized? If not, I think you should. Jesus talks about it, and so do the apostles.

In a profound document called the Heidelberg Catechism from the 16th century, we read this: “Question: What is your only comfort in life and death? Answer: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.”

That is the greatest comfort of all.

And nothing in this big, troubled world, can ever wrestle it away from you.

By Matthew Ruttan

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