October 28, 2023

One Baptism, One Body

1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 4:1-6

We were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body.

—  1 Corinthians 12:13

How often should a Christian be baptized? Only once in life.

This is quite different from the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, which Jesus gave us for regular spiritual nourishment (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:2326). That’s because, in baptism, God (not us) is making the primary statement of grace and faithfulness. However, we can continually be reminded of our baptism through the baptisms of others, through worship, and even in a church building’s physical features.

In some medieval churches, for example, the baptismal pool was at the entrance to the worship area. Some pools were even made in the shape of a cross, since we are baptized into Christ’s death. Often these pools also had three steps going down into the water, signifying baptism in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As a baptized person came up out of the water, they were also given a white robe to wear, a symbol of being clothed with Christ (see Galatians 3:27; Revelation 7:14).

When, as an adult, a person comes to faith in Christ, they are called to be baptized and to profess their faith publicly before entering the full life of the church—its fellowship, worship, and participation in the Lord’s Supper. In doing so, the believer commits to being one with Christ and with his people in the one body of Christ, the one family of God.

Lord, thank you for receiving us into your one covenant family through baptism. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Kristopher Walhof

Kristopher Walhof is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church who lives with his wife and seven-year-old son in rural Kenya. He teaches Bible and theology courses to theological students seeking ordination in the Africa Inland Church (AIC) denomination.

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