Sunday marks the last lesson in our series, Living out Your Baptism. It is my hope that this series, examining the biblical theology of baptism, will help you to work out the implications of your baptism in your present Christian walk.
Thus far we have seen that baptism is (1) a new exodus for God’s People; (2) a re–enactment of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; (3) a new birth; and (4) the initiating rite through which we are justified by faith.
Sunday, we will discuss the second part of the lesson we began last Sunday – Living up to Your Baptism: Justification and Sanctification. Today our emphasis will be sanctification. Our key text for both sermons is Acts 2:37–39.
Acts 2:37–39 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
In response to their question, Peter told his audience to repent and be baptized. Two promises were offered with baptism – forgiveness of sins (justification) and the Holy Spirit (sanctification).
The Holy Spirit uses “baptism as a means of empowering every believer for discipleship… Through the Spirit’s role of sanctification we are transformed in order to conform to the image of Christ…. We are a community conformed to God’s image so that Christ may be exalted above all in us” (Down in the River to Pray, John Mark Hicks & Greg Taylor, p. 167–68).
2 Corinthians 3:17–18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever–increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Baptism is a sign and means of receiving the Holy Spirit, whose primary role is to sanctify us for God’s Presence, his service, and his glory. Through baptism we are transformed for relationship with God, called to be disciples, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. After sin has been drowned in us, we come up for air. We have been justified. We’re relieved beyond belief. We do not want to return to the depths. Our response might me, “I’m thankful to be saved. I’m glad it’s over. I want to rest.” The Holy Spirit, however, leads us beyond these primary responses toward sanctification in the following ways: We are the temple of the Holy Spirit… Discipleship is our role in the covenant… The Holy Spirit empowers us for holy and hopeful living… Sanctification takes us beyond gratitude to a relationship with God, beyond relief to discipleship, beyond rest to empowerment by the Holy Spirit to die daily to sin and live for Christ (Down in the River to Pray, John Mark Hicks & Greg Taylor, p. 168).
I’ll say more in my lesson.
Are you living out your baptism? Joey