Probably in our own, modern substitutes for (immediate baptism upon profession) – raising hands, coming forward, etc. – are the result of a felt need to do something for those who believe. It seems certain that those who believed were distinguished from those who did not. There is no evidence that the New Testament evangelistic preachers asked them to come forward, but there is every indication that they did invite those who believed to be baptized (Ac. 2:38). And it seems that this was the way in which new converts professed their faith in Christ and came under the care and discipline of the church.
James H. Aughey
God brings men into deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them.
Augustine of Hippo
One generation and another generation; the generation by which we are made the faithful, and are born again by baptism; the generation by which we shall rise again from the dead, and shall live with the Angels for ever.
For all Christians, baptism embodies release from yesterday’s sin and receipt of tomorrow’s promise: going under the water, the old self is buried in the death of Christ; rising from the water the self is new, joined to the resurrected Christ.
Question: How do you know yourself to be a son of God in fact as well as in name?
Answer: “Because I am baptized in the name of God the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Catechism of the Church of Geneva
His previous life had been that of the Perfect Ideal Israelite – believing, unquestioning, submissive – in preparation for that which, in His thirteenth year, He had learned as its business. The Baptism of Christ was the last act of His private life; and, emerging from its waters in prayer, He learned: when His business was to commence, and how it would be done.
Rachel Held Evans
But sometimes I think what the church needs most is to recover some of its weird. There’s no sense in sending her through the makeover montage of the chick flick when she’ll always be the strange, awkward girl who only gets invited to prom on a dare. In the ritual of baptism, our ancestors acted out the bizarre truth of the Christian identity: We are people who stand totally exposed before evil and death and declare them powerless against love. There’s nothing normal about that.
‘I am baptized!’ Apparently Martin Luther, the great 16th century figure of the reformation used to take great comfort from these words. When it seemed to him that the whole church had left the precepts of the Gospel, when he was under scrutiny from Church officials as to the truth of his beliefs, when his life was under threat and when he suffered self doubt he would boldly claim, ‘I am baptized.’
Gregory of Nyssa
For ‘the Spirit breathes where He wills, and thou hearest His voice, but canst not tell whence He cometh or whither He goeth.’ He blesses the body that is baptized, and the water that baptizes. Despise not, therefore, the Divine laver, nor think lightly of it, as a common thing, on account of the use of water. For the power that operates is mighty, and wonderful are the things that are wrought thereby.
We may never be martyrs but we can die to self, to sin, to the world, to our plans and ambitions. That is the significance of baptism; we died with Christ and rose to new life.
Baptism is not only a sacrament of our union with Christ; it is also a sacrament of our communion as the body of Christ.
If you accept the belief that baptism incorporates us in the mystical body of Christ, into the divine DNA, then you might say that the Holy Spirit is present in each of us, and thus we have the capacity for the fullness of redemption, of transformation.
Liturgy Training Publications
When the convert emerges from the water, the world seems changed. The world has not changed, it is always wonderful and horrible, iniquitous and filled with beauty. But now, after baptism, the eyes that see the world have changed.
Baptism separates the tire kickers from the car buyers.
Baptism is the initial step of a faithful heart.
Baptism signifies that the old Adam in us is to be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and perish with all sins and evil lusts; and that the new man should daily come forth again and rise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
The seed dies into a new life, and so does man.
Every call to worship is a call into the Real World…. I encounter such constant and widespread lying about reality each day and meet with such skilled and systematic distortion of the truth that I’m always in danger of losing my grip on reality. The reality, of course, is that God is sovereign and Christ is savior. The reality is that prayer is my mother tongue and the eucharist my basic food. The reality is that baptism, not Myers-Briggs, defines who I am.
Thus the whole death is not the biological phenomenon of death but the spiritual reality whose “sting… is sin” (1 Cor. 15:56) – the rejection by man of the only true life given to him by God. “Sin entered the world and death by sin ” (Rom. 5:12): there is no other life but God’s life; the one who rejects it dies because life without God is death. This is the spiritual death, the one that fill the entire life with “dying” and, being separation from God, makes man’s life solitude and suffering, fear and illusion, enslavement to sin and enmity, meaninglessness, lust and emptiness. It is this spiritual death that makes man’s physical death truly death…”
Baptism with water is the sign and seal of baptism with the Spirit, as much as it is of the forgiveness of sins. Water-baptism is the initiatory Christian rite, because Spirit-baptism is the initiatory Christian experience.
Being a Christian involves a personal, vital identification with Jesus Christ, and this union with Him is dramatically set forth in our baptism.
Thus the vocation of the baptized person is a simple thing: it is to live from day to day, whatever the day brings, in this extraordinary unity, in this reconciliation with all people and all things, in this knowledge that death has no more power, in this truth of the resurrection. It does not really matter exactly what a Christian does from day to day. What matters is that whatever one does is done in honor of one’s own life, given to one by God and restored to one in Christ, and in honor of the life into which all humans and all things are called.
The only thing that really matters to live in Christ instead of death”
Hans Urs von Balthasar
The Church does not dispense the sacrament of baptism in order to acquire for herself an increase in membership but in order to consecrate a human being to God and to communicate to that person the divine gift of birth from God.
Christian living means dying with Christ and rising again. That, as we saw, is part of the meaning of baptism, the starting point of the Christian pilgrimage.
For so long as we remain cooped up in this prison of our body, traces of sin will dwell in us; but if we faithfully hold fast to the promise given us by God in baptism, they shall not dominate or rule.
Tish Harrison Warren
As Christians, we wake each morning as those who are baptized. We are united with Christ and the approval of the Father is spoken over us. We are marked from our first waking moment by an identity that is given to us by grace: an identity that is deeper and more real than any other identity we will don that day.
Taken Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life by Tish Harrison Warren. Copyright (c) 2016 by Tish Harrison Warren, p.61. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com.
Thus, we must regard baptism and put it to use in such a way that we may draw strength and comfort from it when our sins or conscience oppress us, and say: ‘But I am baptized! And if I have been baptized, I have the promise that I shall be saved and have eternal life, both in soul and body.
The heavens were opened to show us that our baptism will open the heavens for us. God is made accessible to us. We can know the Unknowable. We can be changed. A good work is done in us, and we have the means to have the promise fulfilled in us.
Cyril of Jerusalem
[When you were baptized,] you died and were born in one and the same moment. This saving water was both tomb and womb. It is a strange thing, quite out of the ordinary.
For indeed, at the moment of Baptism we are not actually dead, we have not really been placed in the tomb, we are not actually brought back from the dead: by these ceremonies we seek to represent Christ’s Passion.
Yet we are truly given new life.
Thus a Christian life is nothing else than a daily baptism, begun once and continuing ever after. For we must keep at it without ceasing, always purging whatever pertains to the old Adam, so that whatever belongs to the new creature may come forth.
Maximus of Turin
Christ is baptized, not to be made holy by the water, but to make the water holy.
Marcus Peter Johnson
Baptism is not something other than the gospel, it is the gospel in three-dimensional form, the experience and assurance of which we live for the rest of our lives.
“It is easy to believe in such moments that water was made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables or doing the wash.”
Gilead: A Novel (London: Picador, 2004), p.28.
“Biological” or physical death is not the whole death, not even its ultimate essence …in [the] Christian vision, death is above all a spiritual reality, of which one can partake while being alive, from which one can be free while lying in the grave. Death here is man’s separation from life, and this means from God Who is the Giver of life, Who Himself is Life.
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