...raised to walk in newness of life
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Baptism is the public ceremonial declaration that regeneration (v.26) has happened in your life. Notice the allusions to water and life in the above passage and think about the death of the earth in the flood narrative and the purifying effect of Noah's passing through the waters of death to find new life for the human race.
Ezekiel's words are also the long and short of predicting the effect of Jesus' atonement - the effect of His life, death, resurrection and ascension on individual fallen man. Ezekiel is declaring the reality of faith that is available because the promised Messiah appeared and finished His work.
Not only does Baptism represent the forgiveness of sins offered in Jesus, but it also has further symbolism.
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
There are two themes in this Romans passage: life and death.
Paul makes it clear that the believer is supposed to be dead to their former way of living. In other words, our old life, before coming to Christ, where we lived as we saw fit and were our own king is something in the past. That is no longer the reality in which we should find ourselves.
Rather, we are to live in light of a different reality, namely that we have been raised from the dead (spiritually) and that we are expected to walk in the newness of life. This new life is categorized by being obedient to Christ and submissive to Him as Lord of our entire lives and we are enabled to do this by the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ's body from the dead.
We can't wait to celebrate this new life in Christ, represented by baptism, this Sunday! Be here to support and rejoice with our new brothers and sisters as they publicly proclaim through baptism that they have died to their former lives and are receiving new life through Christ. We anticipate baptizing about 30 children and adults between the 2 services.
What you need to know about Sundays Baptism Celebration:
Following worship through singing, Dr. Lincoln will preach a slightly abbreviated sermon ("The Joy of Baptism") and the Baptism Celebration will conclude our services.
Those who are being baptized have already met with a minister to discuss their decision to follow Jesus. We hope that their decision will inspire others to also give their lives to Christ or be baptized if they haven't previously taken that step, and they can be baptized on a future date.
Ready to be baptized?
Contact James Roberts by this Wednesday to discuss participating in this Sunday's baptism celebration, or contact him anytime about being baptized at a future date: or (803) 782-1300.