Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
— Romans 6:3–4
I feel like I have to start this devotional about baptism with an admission: I have not been baptized by immersion. I am actively exploring this and what it would mean for me. However, as I started to write this, trying to figure out how to write about baptism, ostensibly to make a case for why we should be baptized, it occurred to me that baptism isn’t about me. It’s about Jesus, and knowing and declaring what his life, death and resurrection accomplished, both for the world and for each of us. With that in mind, here’s my story:
Somehow, I came to believe that my value was of my doing. I thought I could be perfect enough to please God and earn a place in Heaven. If you’ve ever tried that, you know it’s exhausting — and impossible. Then, one day, I was told that I’m valuable just because I am. Not because I’m good, but because a loving God made me. I realized that I would always be separated from God because of my sin — because of my general sinful nature, but also because, in a way, I was trying not to need God. I made a decision to let that striving, perfect, exhausted self die, and I was saved. I’m not talking some “religious” kind of saving — I’m telling you my life was saved! I was relieved of the life-crushing effort involved in trying to be good. I, who had to be perfect in countless ways, was allowed to die, and I could just be the Joy that God created, fully alive and free.
When I started to write this, a full-on Gospel message, I tried to do what has been done probably tens of thousands of times through the last 2,000 years: to restate the Gospel message set forth in scripture. There is no need for me to do that — I’m just me, not a theologian or pastor. What I am is a person who has been given new life and, right up to this very minute, is being freed from all kinds of manifestations of sin — mine and others’.
What is your salvation story? How would you tell it if someone asked you? Do you have a story of how you died and were freed to live a new life through Christ? If you do, declare it, not only through baptism, but in all the ways you are called and gifted. If you have not died to sin and been freed to live a new life in Christ, I can assure you that if you ever want to talk to a c|Life pastor about what you believe or questions you have, you will be met with compassion and kindness. What you believe about Jesus will be the most important decision you make in your life.