Pastor’s Corner: “Remember Your Baptism”
Acts 2:38-39 (ESV) – 38 And Peter said to them, “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. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
The Lord reminded me this morning of baptism. The word “Baptism” is a transliteration of the Greek word BAPTIZO which means to immerse. In Hebrew it is referred to as a MIKVEH – an immersion. What are we immersed in? Not just water, but into Jesus Himself. His Spirit, His Love, His Grace, His Forgiveness, His Freedom, His Joy, His Peace, His Death…….but more importantly His Life and Resurrection. Other words: restored, renewed, repaired, renovated, redeemed, regenerated, and revitalized – sounds like a good thing, yes?
Last Friday night at the beach in Isla Blanca Park on the Island, we had the joy and privilege in baptizing Gary Stockton from our church and Youth Group. While Gary, his dad Chase and I proceeded to head out into the water, I looked down at the strong waves and tide stirring everything up and remembered that this was a result of Hurricane Grace (get it, Hurricane GRACE). Like God’s GRACE that stirs up our lives to help us see our need for Him and our commitment to His Son Jesus. When I asked Gary what had prompted him to be baptized, he replied that he felt it was time to make a change in his life. What a perfect moment to be baptized. God had set this all up ahead of time. Afterward we gathered on the boardwalk and worshipped the Lord together in song and prayer. It was beautiful and amazing.
My heart swells with every person and every time we celebrate baptism no matter whether it is at the church or at the beach; no matter whether they are young or old; no matter whether they are a new believer or someone who is recommitting the life to Christ. One time I had the privilege of baptizing a man who was in the hospital and was desperately sick. He had been rebelling against the Lord for most of his life. But that day his heart was soft and open to receive Jesus and be baptized. More than being healed, he wanted Jesus and His forgiveness. The Holy Spirit impressed an urgency on my heart not to wait until my friend was out of the hospital but to do it right then. So I took water from the sink next to his hospital bed and baptized him right there! This was also beautiful and amazing.
We all (Body of Christ) receive the gift of the presence of Holy Spirit when someone is baptized if our hearts are open. And we are reminded of the joy, power, love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, thankfulness, freedom and transformation that resulted from our own baptism. Heaven is never closer. Christians can all agree that baptism is a symbol of eternal hope in Christ. It is a symbol of the lasting hope they possess and a reminder of the promise that has been fulfilled.
Remember your baptism, but don’t just remember the day or the act – remember the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives purpose to all baptisms. Remember that the Lord called you to Himself, and He chose you by name – not by any merit of your own but by His free gift of grace.
Throughout the Bible, we can see that God chose people whom we might consider not so deserving – polytheists, murderers, adulterers, harlots, liars, and all other sorts of sinners and sins combined. His point in showing us the flaws of the people He chose is to remind us that no one is deserving. He can give mercy to anyone He chooses because all have fallen short of His glory, and no one can be justified and sanctified apart from Jesus.
We are now clothed with Jesus. Galatians 3:27 (NLT) – 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. We belong to Him and that He lives in and through us. The passage also tells us that if we’ve been clothed with Christ our identity is found in Him. We’re the very children of God (v. 26). As such, we’ve been made right with God by faith—not by following Old Testament law (vv. 23–25). We’re not divided against one another by gender, culture, and status. We’re set free and brought into unity through Christ and are now His own (v. 29).
So there are very good reasons to remember baptism and all that it represents. We aren’t simply focusing on the act itself but that we belong to Jesus and have become children of God. Our identity, future, and spiritual freedom are found in Him. You were without hope, but He called you His own. He has adopted you as His child and heir. Remember the sin that caused the world to fall, understand the consequence of sin for every human being, and realize your continual need for the perfect Savior who lived and died and rose for all who would believe.
In His Grace,