Exhortations

Baptism- Natural and Spiritual

Baptism- is a public ceremony that signify the voluntary submission to belong to the Body of Christ-the Church

Baptism is a  religious ceremony considered by most Christian groups as a blessed sacrament.  A ceremony being done through brief immersion in water for the infants and sprinkling of water over the forehead for adults. This ceremony is considered a  symbolic mark of washing away sins and is a spiritual purification of (body and soul). 

The baptism of infants nowadays is no longer called baptism but referred to as a  presentation or dedication of the child to the kingdom of God and the Christian community. The officiating priest also blesses the recipient of becoming a new creation or born again.

In a liturgical service or mass, the priest and another clergy or an assistant hold an aspergillum (a vessel that holds the holy water);  the priest sprinkles the water on the head or forehead of the parishioners while walking in the middle aisle of the church and uttering, “in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” and in response, the congregation make a sign of the cross or utter the word amen as a sign of agreement or acceptance to be part of the Body of Christ. This is one of the many ways baptism is being done.

What is the meaning of baptism in secular understanding?

a) Christian sacrament marked by ritual use of water and admitting the recipient to the Christian community. b) A non-Christian rite using water for ritual purification. c) Christian Science: purification by or submergence in Spirit. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

What is the purpose of baptism?

Water Baptism is a symbol of our commitment to God and to act responsibly in characters and attitude as it reflects the identity of Christians, and to act in obedience to the tenet of the traditional church. Confession or confirmation and Repentance or change of heart are necessary to be called Christian not in name only (CINO) but true Christians, who are turning from greediness, anger, and prideful to serve the Lord in selflessness, love and forgiveness, and humbleness. The main purpose is to have one spirit, for in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit; as Paul said in 1Corinthians 12:13. With one Lord which is not confusing, and one faith as solid as the rock and one baptism for the forgiveness of sin is all it takes.

Many older church people believe that baptism is just a public ceremony to introduce the recipient to the community of Christian and an entry into Christ’s body, the Church, and has nothing to do with our salvation.  They are in wrong!

In 1 Peter 3:21—“Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”  Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Jesus’ experience on baptism— “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.” Matthew 3:16

The experience of the Body of Christ (Church) born from above.  “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses”— Colossians 2:12-13

Many of us Catholics were baptized during our age of innocence as practiced by our parents with beliefs that we will be free from sinful acts inherited by them from the fallen state of mankind.  Though the lack of knowledge of our parents about the baptism of infants practiced during those times did not stop the cleansing of sin, because their faith made us free from the sin of one man.

Jesus was baptized in a human form and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, he needed the cleansing of his earthly body. During the Old Testament law which Jesus obediently practiced, the Jewish high priest was the only man that was allowed by God to enter the Holy of Holies and Jesus Christ sent by God was the highest priest higher than the angels.

Jesus works when we join his Body—as recorded by John the Baptist “I did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit” John 1:33. John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”— Luke 3:16.

Matthew 28:18-20 — And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

God is all in all!

Bishop Joseph

Dr. Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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