This Sunday is a very important day in the life of our congregation. Nothing is as exciting as baptizing those who have decided to follow Jesus. Believer’s Baptism is one of the “peculiar” beliefs that Anabaptists embrace. In fact, early Anabaptist lost their lives because of this doctrine.
The message will be on the short side this Sunday since we will take time to hear the testimonies of those being baptized. One thing that I will not be able to emphasize adequately is the significance of the Holy Spirit’s inner work implied through baptism. Paul Zehr says in the Believers Church Bible Commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy:
Sixteenth-century Anabaptism strongly emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit in Christian conversion. In Anabaptist thought, the inner work of the Holy Spirit first brings about regeneration. Regeneration or birth by the Holy Spirit is expressed outwardly in water baptism. Anabaptists talked about three baptisms: of the Spirit, of water, and of blood (martyrdom). Water baptism, or believers baptism, which followed inner Spirit baptism, was for them an outer mark of an inner change. The baptized church was the visible gathering of the inwardly regenerated.
What we celebrate this Sunday is something that has already taken place in the lives of those being baptized. When they decided to follow Christ, asking Him to forgive and cleanse them from their sins, the Holy Spirit took up residence in each of them. The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian Church: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, NLT)” The Holy Spirit lives in all who belong to Christ. He empowers them to live God honoring lives. What an amazing reality!
See you on Sunday!
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Eric grew up in the little town of Gibraltar, PA with his grandparents.