Philemon 1:18 If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.
Wow, I’m still soaking in the goodness of God this past Sunday. We had the extreme pleasure of combining services with our La Viña congregation for a joint baptism service. It was a blast! We had sixteen planned baptisms and then a spontaneous one. It was crazy. We finished with our planned baptisms, and then we invited anyone else who would like to be baptized to come to the front. One man got out of his seat and started sprinting towards the baptismal, unbuttoning his shirt in the anticipation of getting dunked in the water.
It was a huge celebration that we ended with a day at the park eating great BBQ and playing corn-hole!
Baptisms to me are extremely special. And I don’t want that to sound flippant at all. I love baptisms. I love the joy on the faces on the people that come out of the water. Whether that’s due to the temperature of the water is another story. It’s a perfect representation of the gospel of Christ: a personal decision to follow the ways of the Lord while being done in the context of the community of believers.
This is why we used Philemon’s story to end with baptism; in this situation, Paul is standing between the two hurt people as a means of reconciliation. Paul in this way is functioning like Christ. Paul is placing all the hurts and frustrations of a broken relationship upon himself to create a new one reshaped by the reconciling love of Christ.
Because that’s what it’s all about folks.
Baptisms are outward expressions of an inward feeling. It’s a mystery trying to explain it all, but it’s something the church has been doing for thousands of years. Christians trace their baptismal rites back to John the Baptist, but really it’s been a part of religious expression long before then. The Old Testament contains references to ceremonial cleansing (see Exod 29:4; 30:17–21; Lev 8:6; 14:18; 16:24; Num 19:19–21). But what’s amazing about our belief in baptism is that it not only functions as a physical cleansing, it is also a spiritual one as well. Paul speaks of our baptism as mimicking the life, death, and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:3-7). Baptisms display to the world a dying to the old ways of living and a proclamation of new life in Christ.
And that’s why we celebrate baptisms. All the wrongs in our life, all the wrongs that we have done and the wrongs done to us, are charged to Christ’s account. We have no reason to sulk in our depravity, but instead, we have every reason to celebrate! Baptisms are a good thing! Let’s do it again, folks, because God is wanting to increase his family. And let’s do it soon.
God bless you as you finish up this week, and I’ll see you Sunday.