Summary: Baptism has been identified as: "Giving the faithful a parallel to Jesus's death for man."

William Stringfellow, an American lay theologian once remarked: "Thus the vocation of the baptized person is a simple thing: it is to live from day to day, whatever the day brings, in this extraordinary unity, in this reconciliation with all people and all things, in this knowledge that death has no more power, in this truth of the resurrection. It does not really matter exactly what a Christian does from day to day. What matters is that whatever one does is done in honor of one's own life, given to one by God and restored to one in Christ, and in honor of the life into which all humans and all things are called. The only thing that really matters to live in Christ instead of death" Romans 6:1-5 confirms: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

Baptism has been identified as: "Giving the faithful a parallel to Jesus's death for man." It is not only literally and symbolically cleansing, but it signifies dying and rising again with Christ. It removes any original sin and gives us new life. Water is usually used as the purification method either by sprinkling or full immersion of the body. Jesus, Himself, was baptized by John the Baptist. Matthew 3:13-17 confirms: "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him, and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Infant baptism is favored by many as it is considered pleasing to God. It signifies rebirth and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Although an individual “Profession of Faith” from the candidate is not usual, as they are too young, this function is normally performed by the sponsors on the child’s behalf. Acts 2:38 states: “And Peter said to them, “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.”

John and Sarah were a happily married couple in their mid-twenties, who had been trying for several years to conceive a child to complete the family. Finally, after much endeavor, they were successful and had just given birth to a baby girl. They were both delighted and so proud that God had allowed them the privilege of achieving such a wonderful feat. However, while the birth had gone without issue, it was discovered by the doctors at a subsequent examination and ECG, that the child had congenital heart disease. The parents were devastated as the prognosis was not good. They were advised by the medical team handling the case that it would be in their best interests to have the baby baptized at the earliest opportunity, as the chance of survival appeared low. We should always remember that sometimes good fortune can be followed by heartbreak, as the Lord can give and the Lord can take away.

The power of birth and life is given solely by God. Isaiah 66:7-12 reminds us: “Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?” says the Lord; “shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance ...”

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