Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Water Babies

So this post isn't going to be about a favorite recipe, or how to make your own curtains.  I'm not going to gush about my garden or even sing the praises of the homeschooled experience.  I doubt there will be many pictures to post...

 Nope,  today I have baptism on my mind.  In fact... I woke up at 5:30 this morning with baptism flooding my brain (pun intended).  Here is how it started.

I woke with a verse in my head.  "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10).  Be still... be passive... and know that I am God... that I am active.  It made me remember my baptism.

I was baptized in infancy in the Catholic church.  Somewhere between then and my preschool years, my mother left the Catholic church and began to attend a church that didn't practice infant baptism.  But I still "remember" my baptism.  I do this by remembering my passive state and God's activity in my baptism:

I was still, and He was God.  I was held, without my consent or willing participation, over a font of water.  A priest, appointed by the church with the responsibility of bringing God's Word to His people, sprinkled water over my head and spoke God's active Word over me: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit". The Holy Spirit then took me, made me His own, and began the work of faith (salvation) within me.

Then I thought of Job.  I thought about all that had happened to him.  And I thought about when he questioned God... and how God gave him this verbal smackdown:

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
     Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements
     ---- surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its basses sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
   and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Or who shut in the sea with doors 
  when it burst out from the womb,
when I made clouds its garment
   and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
 and said, 'Thus far shall you
 come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?"
Job 38: 4-11

.... you get the idea... this tongue lashing goes on for a while, and you begin to understand just how active God is... and how passive we are.  And I am reminded that this is a good thing.

We read in Genesis the account of creation.  We are told there was a void, darkness, chaos.  God speaks His Word, and life is created.  And what was our role in this act of creation?  We had none. Our salvation is no different.  I was brought to the baptismal font by those who had faith.  I was dead in my sin, cognitively unable to make any kind of decision; dark, chaotic, void.  But through the spoken Word of God and the washing through water, God created faith in me and gave me life.  I was passive, He was active.

Then I started to think about all the ways Christians attempt to be active in redemption; justification; salvation.  Like Job, we make ourselves the center of what's happening... I thought of familiar phrases I hear many Christians use.
"I gave my life to God."
"I asked Jesus into my heart."
"I have decided to follow Jesus."
"I made a commitment to Christ."

I got to thinking about the ramifications of a doctrine that puts our action as the center of our faith instead of acknowledging we are passive in our justification.  I thought about how damaging it is to make salvation about the words I speak, instead of  about the Word that God speaks. Scripture tells me in Eph. 2:1 that I am dead in my sins and trespasses.  So how does a dead man speak?  or think? When I decide that salvation can only come through my understanding, I am contradicting scripture.  Salvation doesn't depend on my intellect, or my cognitive ability.  It doesn't come after I fully understand the weight of my sin and my need for a savior.  In fact, it is only AFTER faith is received that a sinner can recognize his sinful state.  A dead man's heart doesn't begin to beat until AFTER his heart is started again.  Faith starts our heart... and faith is given through God's Word.  Baptism is God's Word.

...So, I woke up this morning remembering my Baptism.  Thanks be to God. Amen.

Maybe tomorrow I will wake up thinking about Holy Communion ;)

Ephesians 2:8-10

English Standard Version (ESV)
8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


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