By Dn Elaine Ng
I do not remember precisely when our church started the practice of having baptism on Easter Sundays. I also do not remember much about my own baptism except that it was not held at our current premises in West Coast Road but at borrowed premises at Kay Poh Road Baptist Church. For those of you who have been baptised, be it last year or 30 years ago, what do you remember about your baptism?
Like the 17 brothers and sisters who are going to get baptised on Easter Sunday 2022, I am sure you were prompted or guided by someone to obey the command of Jesus Christ to be baptised. And if you were baptised by our church, then you would have gone through baptismal classes to prepare you and make you aware of the significance of baptism as well as the fact that you would also become a member of the church and what that means.
As we witness their baptism today, entering and exiting the water, may we also remember our own baptism and the multitude of meanings it carries.
Participation and union in Christ’s death and resurrection.
New birth in Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins, a deepening of commitment, and a desire to live a more holy life.
Incorporation into the body of Christ and a commitment to serve in the church.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit to reach the lost.
Christ’s ambassadors in this world and of the kingdom that is to come.
Baptism outwardly demonstrates visibly and objectively what has happened invisibly and subjectively in the heart of a believer. It reveals the Gospel truth in tangible ways to pre-believers, young believers and even those who have been baptised for many years. Baptisms held on Easter Sundays are especially meaningful as it takes place during the time when the universal Church remembers Christ’s death and celebrates His resurrection. In baptism, we are united to Christ in his death and resurrection (Rom. 6). The apostle Paul describes it as dying to sin and being alive in Christ. It has been said that the Christian life is an ongoing experience of the dying of our old selves and rising of the new. Baptism is not a blessing on that one occasion when we were baptised, but a means of grace as we watch, with faith, the baptism of others and renew in our minds the riches of the reality of our identity in Christ pictured in our baptism.
Today, as we celebrate God’s grace shown to each of those going through the waters of baptism, may we remember the gift of grace we have received – our salvation by grace through faith, nothing earned by our human effort. May we remember that we are His beloved new creation and are no longer slaves to sin. As we listen to their affirmation of faith and renunciation of sin, may we not only observe but join them in re-dedicating ourselves anew to God our Father that we might walk in the newness of life of faith and submission. As we welcome them to our church membership, may we remember that we too belong to the body of Christ, and we have a part to play to nurture one another and to be held accountable to each other. For those of you who are already believers but are yet to be baptised, may I encourage you to take the step of obedience and follow Jesus to get baptised.