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If two people want to be married, they go through a number of rites or ceremonies as part of a larger ceremony of marriage. They might exchange rings, they take a vow, the sign papers, and they publicly kiss. Depending on the faith tradition in which they get married, they do all things to be legally married.


Two people can behave as if they are married. They can live together, eat together, share bills, and even have children together. However if they don’t go through the rite of passage, if they don’t make a formal statement of their marriage, then legally they aren’t married. In some ways they are legally married, but they can’t be ‘Mr and Mrs Eyland’, or ‘Mr and Mrs Jones’, unless they go through a formal process of acknowledging either a name change or a marriage.


Likewise for us as members of the worldwide community of those who have Jesus as the authority over their lives. We can be a part of a local community, go to church, be involved, preach and they can even go to heaven. But I suspect that there is a little bit missing if they don’t ‘fulfil all righteousness’, if they don’t take that final step into being in a right relationship with God and his people because baptism isn’t just about going through a rite of passage, it is about making a statement. It is a big statement, not just a physical statement but also a spiritual statement to other members of God’s community that you now choose to be a part of that community.

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