To Be Baptized

There have been several divinely revealed events that have morphed by tradition into secular celebrations far afield from the biblical record. The resurrection of Christ is one of them. Dubbed “Easter,” the holiday has devolved into a somewhat carnal affair, signaling a time to party and religiously celebrate in ways at which the Bible has never even remotely hinted.

However, the resurrection has special significance to the Christian as the beginning of the new life and an agreement (“covenant”) between a person and the Christ; it is the premise upon which a relationship with God is founded. As the Passover was a reminder of the covenant between God and His people of the Old Testament, the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of the covenant between God and His people today. And, this New Covenant in blood (Hebrews 12:24), sanctified by our Passover, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7), is remembered every first day of the week (Matthew 26:26-29; cf. Acts 20:7). The significance of the first-day-of-the-week event draws even more emphasis from the fact that we, in order to become children of God, went through a form of His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:17). The resurrection to new life, as a person rises from the watery grave of baptism, is the like-figure of Jesus rising from the grave (Romans 6:1-4).

What is powerfully self-evident is that this historical event, our salvation and the remembrance of this event are all inexorably tied together. The resurrection was real, historical and verifiable; an honest student of history cannot deny it (John 21:24). The resurrection can only be realized and applied by being buried in water for the remission of sins in order to be saved (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:20-21); an honest student of the Bible cannot deny it. These facts being firmly established begs the question: how can the Lord’s Supper possibly have any significance to those who do not believe in the resurrection or have not been buried with Christ to rise to walk in a new, covenant relationship with God? Who can answer this?

The Communion with the Lord and with the body of Christ is not forcibly “closed” to those who do not believe in or have not put on Christ (we are spiritual soldiers of the cross, not physical). Nevertheless, how can the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, that represent the uncorrupted, unblemished Lamb of God, be anything but crackers and grape juice to the unbeliever and the unsaved? Where is the hope, joy or anticipation of Heaven for those who will not or have not become children of God through faith in Christ’s resurrection and obedience to the command to be raised with Christ (cf. Acts 10:48; Colossians 2:12). Oh, how beautiful is to be baptized!

Jeff Sweeten