Summary: John 15:16; 1 John 5:13; Mark 10:14 Baptism is God's initiative of Grace reaching all those created, even infants, & sinners.
WHO TELLS YOU WHO YOU ARE?
We Receive Our Identity From Others, From + Expectations Of Friends & Colleagues, From + Labels Society Puts Upon Us, & From + Influence Of Family.
To become Christian is to receive a NEW IDENTITY. You no longer allow others to tell you who you are. Christ now claims you & instructs you. A Christian is one who has “PUT ON CHRIST.”
Baptism celebrates becoming that new person.
That is why + church’s ritual begins with …
Putting Off + Old, Renouncing Sin
& + Evil Powers Of + World, & Pledging Our Loyalty 2 Christ.
GOD INITIATES + COVENANT
We also believe that in baptism God INITIATES a covenant with us, announced with + words, “+ Holy Spirit Works Within You, That Being Born Through Water & + Spirit, You May Be A
Faithful Disciple Of Jesus Christ.”
This is followed by + sign-act of laying hands on + head, or+signing of+Cross on + forehead with water. The word COVENANT is a biblical word describing God’s initiative in choosing Israel 2 be a people with a special mission in + world, &
Israel’s response in a life of faithfulness.
The baptismal covenant calls us to a similar vocation.
GOD HAS CHOSEN US
Christians have also understood + baptismal covenant in light of Jesus’ baptism.
At Jesus’ baptism, God said: “THIS IS MY SON.”
While Jesus’ relation to God as Son is unique, For Christians baptism means that God
has also Chosen Us As Daughters & Sons, & knows us intimately as a parent.
So the most important things about us,
OUR TRUE IDENTITY, is that we are
NOW SONS & DAUGHTERS OF GOD.
That is why + introduction 2 + Baptismal Covenant states, “We Are Incorporated Into God’s Mighty Acts Of Salvation & Given New Birth
Through Water & + Spirit.” + introduction also says,“Through + Sacrament Of Baptism, We Are Initiated Into Christ’s Holy Church.”
BAPTISM IS + DOOR
From + beginning, baptism has been + DOOR through which one enters + church. It was INCONCEIVABLE 2 many that one could respond 2 God’s grace by reciting + renunciations, affirming one’s faith in Christ & loyalty 2 + Kingdom, without joining + fellowship of those who are committed to mature in that faith. As the “Body of Christ” in + world, baptism commissions us 2 use our gifts
To Strengthen + Church & To Transform + World.
WHY BAPTIZE BABIES?
From + earliest times, children & infants were baptized & included in + church. As scriptural authority 4 this ancient tradition, some scholars cite Jesus’ words,
“Let + little children come 2 me…4 it is 2 such as these that + kingdom of God belongs” (Mark 10:14).
However, a more consistent argument is that baptism, as a MEANS OF GRACE, signifies GOD’S INITIATIVE in + process of salvation.
• John Wesley preached “PREVENIENT GRACE,” + grace that works in our lives
Before We Are Aware Of It, Bringing Us 2 Faith.
• + baptism of children & their inclusion in + church before they can respond with