July 19, 2023

Marked by the Waters of Baptism

Genesis 17:23-27

In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands . . . having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him. . . .

—  Colossians 2:11-12

The Bible tells one consistent story of God’s gracious dealings with his people. Beginning with Abraham, God invites them into a special relationship with him. The Old Testament sign of this covenantal bond was the rite of circumcision. In the New Testament the church has received baptism in Christ as the sign of belonging in God’s covenant. Participation is no longer limited to Jewish males but is now open to all who believe in Christ as Savior.

The waters of baptism mark a person’s life—letting them know who they are and to whom they belong. This God-ordained sacrament is a channel of blessing, a means of grace, a way of assuring us of God’s promises. Through baptism God makes promises to us. He signs and seals his covenant with us, his children. Our faith is confirmed and strengthened by our participation in it.

Colossians 2 teaches that the rite of circumcision pointed forward to the day when Jesus’ own blood would be shed for us. Because of his once-for-all sacrifice, the shedding of blood is no longer required. Instead, water now becomes the symbol of both death and resurrection in Christ, forever binding us with the promises of God. If you have not yet done so, there is no better time than right now to believe and be baptized to new life.

Lord Jesus, your amazing grace invites us into your story and your victory over sin for us. Help us to live faithfully for you. Amen.

About the author — Dan Jongsma

Daniel Jongsma serves as an interim pastor in Fulton, Illinois. He has pastored congregations in Elmhurst and Fulton, Illinois; in Dearborn, Michigan; and in Nashville, Tennessee. Dan also served as a church planter in the Chicago area. He and his wife, Gloria, have three daughters and four grandchildren.

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