Pastor Mark Jeske
One of the most adorable features of family baptisms is when the baby wears a long white handmade baptismal “dress” that has been handed down for generations. They are beautiful—eyelet lace, tiny satin ribbons, billows of linen. A proud grandmother may say shyly that that dress was used for her baptism many decades earlier, and those dresses are stored carefully and shared with each new little Christian in the family.
The Bible teaches us that there are baptismal clothes even more valuable than that antique linen: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:26,27). The painful truth is that we are all born outsiders, outside of God’s family. We are also born sinful, our spiritual appearance to God as though our clothes were filthy.
Our baptism changes both of those conditions. The gospel of Christ that rides along with the splash of water pronounces us to be God’s children—heirs of eternal life. We are also clothed with the shining garments of Jesus Christ himself. Baptism is pure gospel—its power doesn’t depend on a thing we have done for God—it is all his gift to us.
Neither does it depend on the purity of the baptizer. We just get to celebrate our new identity and revel in how good our new clothes make us look to God. We shine like Christ himself!
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