— Romans 4:11
The water of baptism is a physical “sign” that points symbolically to the washing away of sin through the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is also a spiritual “sign” of the renewing work of God’s Spirit in our lives. So in the way we live, think, speak, and act it should be clear that, by the grace of God, we are different, set apart (“holy”). As a song puts it clearly, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love”—of God and all people.
Water baptism, then, is really important. The sacrament of baptism is public and experiential, and it engages our imaginations. Further, when an adult or a baby is baptized, the congregation is asked to make promises to nurture that person in the faith and to help them as they follow God’s calling. Making these vows and seeing the ritual reminds us of the promises that were made over us at our own baptism, and the entire sacrament reminds us of the covenant promises of God.
A road sign is something that points beyond itself to a destination, and it guides all who see it. Baptism is like that, pointing the community of faith to the reality of God’s grace found in the saving work of Christ for us. It guides us in the life of faith until the day Jesus returns to renew all things.
Lord, we thank you for giving us the sacrament of baptism to remind us of the reality of your grace. Amen.