June 30 – LD 26, Day 6: Baptism Has an Even Richer Meaning
by Rev Arie den Hartog

Read Romans 6: 1 - 6

From question and answer 70 of the Heidelberg Catechism we can learn what scripture teaches about the rich meaning of our baptism. It would be good if you could read this question and answer again before you read this meditation.

There are several beautiful aspects of the meaning of baptism all clearly taught in the Word of God.

First, baptism is a sign of our new birth. Our baptism is a sign that we have received the Spirit of Christ, and by His power we are made alive from the dead and made new creatures in Christ. (See Matt 3:11, Rom 6:4) Water baptism is a sign of our spiritual baptism. We disagree with the teaching of the charismatics who claim that a born-again Christian is in need of a second baptism. According to this teaching, there is a need to be baptized a second time by the Spirit. We do not believe scripture teaches two baptisms. Rather, water baptism is a sign of having been ‘baptized by the Spirit’. Our one baptism is a sign that when we were born again, we received the fullness of the Spirit. There is no need for another baptism. All the blessings of Christ have been given to us by His Spirit, of which our water baptism is a sign. Baptism is a sign that the fullness of the Spirit of Christ was given to us.

Secondly, baptism is a sign of our being members of Christ and of our mystical spiritual union with Him. Rom 6, that we asked you to read for this meditation, speaks of our being ‘baptized into Christ Jesus.’ Baptism is a sign that we belong to Him. We were purchased by His precious blood to be His own. We are mystically united to Christ.

Thirdly, and related to what was said above, our baptism is a sign that our old sinful nature was crucified with Christ, so that now we no longer serve sin. The dominion of sin over us has been destroyed by the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.  According to Rom 6, we are therefore also raised with Christ unto newness of life.  Our baptism is a sign of the new life we have in Christ.

Fourthly, water baptism is a sign of our being baptized by the Spirit of Christ into the membership of His body, called the Church. I Cor 12: 13 speaks of this. So, our baptism is a sign that we belong to the church of Jesus Christ, which is spiritually the body of Christ.  We must also serve her, as members of the body serve the whole body.

We are living members of the church whom Christ Himself has saved and gathers and keeps in the world. Each of us have a place and calling in this church. The one same Spirit of Christ has given to every member of the church his or her particular calling.

Finally, our baptism is a sign that we have an obligation to live as Christians. The life of the Christian is called a new and holy life. The Christian life is one lived by the power of the Spirit which we have received from Christ. This means that we are to love God with all our heart, soul,  mind and strength. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ in our lives. We deny the meaning of our baptism when we fail to do this. On the other hand, we are not to despair at the difficulty of Christian living. Christ has given us His Spirit. We are called to walk in the Spirit and to live by the Spirit, and so bring forth the fruits of true Christian living. See Gal 5: 22 - 26 which speaks of the fruit of the Spirit that we must bring forth.