I don’t remember my baptism. I was a little baby at the time. So when I was at a church service where the pastor invited us to linger afterwards and remember our baptism, I was at a disadvantage. What was I supposed to think about while we all sat quietly in our seats? But of course, it’s not the dunking (or the spritzing) that we’re supposed to be remembering. It’s all that baptism represents that we need to cling to in our memories.
I Once Was Lost
There are many, many advantages to being raised in a Christian home. I’m very thankful for my parents and the upbringing they gave me in the church. But there is one large disadvantage when it comes to witnessing: I can have difficulty relating to lost people. The longer you are a Christian, the harder this becomes.
Once you turn the corner in your faith and have a relationship with God, it might be tempting to forget your old life. After all, you’re a new creation now and all your sins are forgiven. But Paul doesn’t recommend that approach. He tells the Ephesians, “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
We need to remember what is was like to have no hope. Jesus’s mission in coming to Earth was “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). As his hands and feet, that is now our mission. If we have no passion to fulfill that mission, the problem may be that we have forgotten what it is like to be lost.
But Now I’m Found
So to remember our baptism, first we have to remember what it was like before we went into the water, when we were enemies of God. But being submerged in the water symbolizes being dead and buried with Christ, so that we can rise with him as a new creation. Baptism is the Church’s adoption ceremony. When we come out of the water, we are children of God.
That simple truth should never cease to amaze us, but for many of us, it’s become such a part of us that we forget how incredible that is. As sinful and rebellious and lost as we were, God claimed us as His sons and daughters. If that doesn’t excite you, remember your baptism. Remember the day you were officially adopted into the Church.
In Revelation, John records seven letters to various churches. The church in Ephesus is commended for their patient endurance, but also chastised for they “have abandoned the love [they] had at first” (Revelation 2:4). Even though they were faithfully going through the motions of being the church, they had forgotten the love that motivated them in the beginning.
Both these remembrances are needed in combination for us to be effective in witnessing to those around us. We need to remember being lost, to give us a sense of urgency to reach those currently without hope. And we need to remember being found. Too many people see Christianity as a drudgery, an endless list of duties and responsibilities. It’s time we remember the joy of being adopted into God’s family.
Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. If you want to help find them, a good way to start is to take some quiet time this week to remember your baptism.