Real or not? H.C. Question 78

Do the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ? 

Ephesians 5:26 – to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

Titus 3:5 – he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 26:26-29 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 16-17 – For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

1 Corinthians 11:26-28 – For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.

Genesis 17:10-11 – This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

Exodus 12:11, 13 – This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.



Ephesians 6:10-20; James 5:13-16 – "Prayer Warrior"

Though Paul lays out each piece of spiritual armor, the whole topic of spiritual warfare as well as our call to “stand firm” is linked to prayer. Throughout Scripture, in fact, prayer is connected to spiritual strengthening and spiritual support; it is our connection with our general, our commander, and our Conquering King. Prayer is one of the main ways that we learn the voice of the Shepherd.

This morning in worship, we will spend an extended time in prayer both bringing our requests before God and also listening for His voice. While this will happen in a formal way during our normal congregational prayer, we believe the Holy Spirit is active both speaking to us and transforming us through all the elements of worship. Scripture urges us to “be alert,” reminding us to be attentive to how and what God is showing us through His Spirit.

Questions to take home:
What are the six ways that Ephesians 6:18-20 encourages us to pray? Does my prayer life reflect these six ways? Does the prayer life of HCC reflect this?

Scripture urges us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What does this look like practically in our 21st century lives? How can we foster a deeper connection with God through prayer?

Prayer can be both intercessory (praying for others) and conversational (back and forth). What’s the difference? How often do we set aside our lists of needs and wants and take time to listen in prayer? If you are interested in learning more about listening prayer, please contact pastor Jon.



The Holy Supper: H.C. Lord's Day 28

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 28

Q 75. How does the holy supper remind and assure you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all his benefits? 
A 75. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup in remembrance of him. With this command come these promises:

First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup shared with me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross.

Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood.

Q. What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood? 
A. It means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and thereby to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

But it means more. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body. And so, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as the members of our body are by one soul.

Q 77. Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup? 
A 77. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper:

“The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is [broken]* for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

In the discourse that is the sacraments, we now take a turn in the Catechism to look at Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist.  This celebration is done in response and remembrance of the Last Supper that Jesus ate with His disciples.

Sadly, in many churches today, this celebration has become more of a monotonous tradition that we “do because we have to.”  Whether it’s because of the approach of the congregation or the lack of engagement from the pastor, these celebrations have become empty rituals with very little meaning.

Truly, this is a sad thing.

The Lord’s Supper is packed full of meaning; it is literally our opportunity to taste and touch the Gospel and to be filled with God’s grace.  St. Augustine said of the sacraments, they are “visible signs of invisible grace.”  Again, this is multi-sensory worship at it’s finest, engaging the senses that are used during the traditional sermon.

We can (and do) talk about the Gospel a lot.  In fact, the Gospel is (or should be) at the center of all that we do, informing every decision and every activity.  Every message should touch on it in some way.  We were sinners, separated from God, and we had no hope.  God stepped in by sending His Son to pay for those sins so that we would no longer be separated from Him.  Faith in Jesus Christ grants of justification (forgiveness).

At the Table, when we take communion, we are reminded of this.  No matter what we’ve done, from the stealing of a pencil to capital murder, we remember that Christ died for our sins and we receive forgiveness when we believe in Him.  Did you fight with your spouse today?  Then you need to come to the Table.  Were you lazy at your job today?  Then you need to come to the Table.

Did you fight with your spouse today?  Then you need to come to the Table.  Were you lazy at your job today?  Then you need to come to the Table.

Were you lazy at your job today?  Then you need to come to the Table.

Have you looked questionably at another person, whether in judgment or lust?  Then you need to come to the Table.

It’s not that the sacraments themselves save us.  In fact, the act of taking communion or getting baptized does not ensure salvation.  Rather, they remind us that we are saved, we are forgiven, our sins our washed away because of Jesus Christ and we receive that through faith.

Maybe the way your church does communion is boring… or you just don’t like it…

Maybe your pastor doesn’t explain it well or just reads the same old stuff each time…

…if either of those are so, that is sad…

…but it is no excuse for ignoring the deep meaing and the reality of grace and forgiveness that we live in which is symbolized in the taking of the bread and the drinking of the cup!

We are forgiven!  We are united with Christ!  We are called to newness of life!

Take, eat, remember and believe!  Be what you see and receive what you are!



Refreshments: H.C. Question 77

Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 – Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.



Eat and Drink: H.C. Question 76 (Part 2)

What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood? 

1 Corinthians 6:15-17 – Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Ephesians 5:29-30 – After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.

1 John 4:13 – This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.

John 15:1-6 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Ephesians 4:15-16 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

1 John 3:24 – The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.



Eat and Drink: H.C. Question 76 (part 1)

What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood? 

John 6:35, 40, 50-58 – Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty

For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

1 Corinthians 12:13 – For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Acts 1:9-11 – After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

1 Corinthians 11:26 – For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Colossians 3:1 – Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.



Remembrance: H.C. Question 75

How does the holy supper remind and assure you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all his benefits?

Matthew 26:26-28 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 14:22-24 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.

Luke 22:19-20 – And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

1 Corinthians 11:23-25 – For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”



Ephesians 6:10-20 "Becoming Battle Ready"

  • The idea of a “spiritual realm” and angels and demons fighting is very foreign to us in our culture. What do you think gets in the way of us thinking about this or believing it exists?
  • Chip Ingram expands Ephesians 6:10 to say this: “allow yourself to be continually strengthened by the power already made available to you in your new position and relationship with Christ.” What power is Paul referring to here? How does this relate to your identity in Christ?
  • How does the fact that we are fighting from victory, not for victory change our perspective on life and the spiritual (and perhaps, physical) battles that we find ourselves fighting?


A Sign and a Pledge: H.C. Lord's Day 27

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 27

Q 72. Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins? 
A 72. No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.

Q 73. Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins? 
A 73. God has good reason for these words. To begin with, God wants to teach us that the blood and Spirit of Christ take away our sins just as water removes dirt from the body.

But more important, God wants to assure us, by this divine pledge and sign, that we are as truly washed of our sins spiritually as our bodies are washed with water physically.

Q 74. Should infants also be baptized? 
A 74. Yes, Infants as well as adults are included in God’s covenant and people, and they, no less than adults, are promised deliverance from sin through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit who produces faith.

Therefore, by baptism, the sign of the covenant, they too should be incorporated into the Christian church and distinguished from the children of unbelievers.  This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision, which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.

What God first called Abraham, He gave him a sign of covenant belonging that we know as circumcision.  This sign was given to all male boys that were born into Abraham’s family from that time forward, 8 days after their birth, of their belonging in the family (or nation) of Israel.  In the same way that the last name of a parent is given to their children upon their birth, signifying their belonging in their family, so too were these young offspring of Abraham a part of his family.

This sign, however, saw its true meaning realized in the coming of Jesus and the revelation that it indeed was not a physical sign that distinguished God’s people, but rather an internal change that took place.  Paul describes this a “circumcision of the heart” in which the Holy Spirit, through building faith, transforms a person.  This inner change is marked by an outward change different than a physical mark on a body; it is a life change that happens when one turns from living their life for themselves and begins living for God.

All of this is symbolized in baptism.  When people come to faith, baptism is a sign and a symbol that their sins have been washed away, that they are cleansed and renewed, and that they are sustained by Jesus Christ, the living water.  Being immersed in water, going down and bring brought back up is also symbolic of dying and rising, like Christ who died and went down to the grave and was raised to life through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We too, when we come to faith, experience this through dying to the “old self” and the new life that we experience in Christ.

So then, what about infant baptism?  There are a great deal of questions surrounding infant baptism, especially if we talk about baptism carrying the symbolism of new life, redemption, and salvation.  None of these are possible without faith and therefore, seem to be out of place within the context of infant baptism.

Furthermore, there is no place in Scripture where we are expressly told to “baptize babies.”  Certainly, this is true.  However, Colossians 2:11-12 links the acts of circumcision and baptism and gives both spiritual importance.

In fact, both do carry a significant amount of similar themes including belonging to the covenant community and the assurance of God’s covenant promises.  Actually, the Jews also practiced baptism for those who would convert to Judiasm and it symbolized this covenant belonging.

How, then, can Baptism, which carries many other themes that are related to forgiveness and cleansing, be something we do to people before they have been forgiven or cleansed?  Well, drawing from the themes of Scripture that point to the promises of God being offered uniquely to the families of those who are God’s people, we claim that God’s promises are for our children as well.  The sign, symbol, and seal of those promises is seen now through the act of infant baptism in a similar way that it was seen in circumcision in the Old Testament.

Infant Baptism expands the image of circumcision, bringing both genders equally under God’s promises, reminding us of the promise of forgiveness and salvation that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ, welcomes children as full participants in the community of faith, and reminds us of our identity in Christ and God’s faithful presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit.



Infant Baptism: H.C. 74

Should infants also be baptized?

Genesis 17:7 – I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

Matthew 19:14 – Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Isaiah 44:1-3 – “But now listen, Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.  This is what the Lord says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.  For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Acts 2:38-39 – Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

Acts 16:31 – They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Acts 10:47 – “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

1 Corinthians 7:14 – For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Genesis 17:9-14 – Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Colossians 2:11-13 – In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,



What Washing? H.C. Question 73

Why then does the Holy Spirit call baptism the washing of rebirth and the washing away of sins?

1 Corinthians 6:11 – And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Revelation 1:5 – and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,

Revelation 7:14 – I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Acts 2:38 – Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 6:3-4 – Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Galatians 3:27 – for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.



The Effects: H.C. Question 72

Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?

Matthew 3:11 – “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

1 Peter 3:21 – and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.



Philippians 3 "Citizens of…"

Christians in the early church faced a problem: how to live as earthly citizens of the Roman Empire, one the required pagan worship and had few morals, while living out their true, and higher calling as Disciples of Christ. For them, the two were not compatible and a choice had to be made, a choice that often put their earthly life in danger for the sake of the Cross. We can thank God that things are not necessarily that way here as we gather for worship.

Americans are granted the extraordinary blessing of religious freedom, one of many things we celebrate on Independence Day. There can be a danger here, though, as well. Christians have been lulled into a false sense of security, valuing our comfort over any sacrifice we are called to make. In some cases, we may even be guilty of putting our hope in a government to protect us rather than transforming power and hope of the Gospel.

This independence day, let us pray for our nation and our leaders, but remember that our salvation, our hope, and ultimately our freedom comes from Christ alone!

Questions to take home:
1. Paul talks about putting confidence in the flesh in verses 4-6. Are there places in my life where I put more confidence in myself or even my nation/government over the message of the Gospel or the cross of Christ?
2. Do you think Christians in the United States tend to value things like comfort and security over the call to make disciples or the cost of being a disciple? How is being comfortable potentially dangerous? What can we do to fight against that?
3. How is God calling me to be a faithful witness for Him amidst the celebrations of this Independence Day?



All Cleaned Up! H.C. Lord's Day 26

Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 26

Q 69. How does holy baptism remind and assure you that Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross benefits you personally?
A 69. In this way: Christ instituted this outward washing and with it promised that, as surely as water washes away the dirt from the body, so certainly his blood and his Spirit wash away my soul’s impurity, that is, all my sins.

Q 70. What does it mean to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?
A 70. To be washed with Christ’s blood means that God, by grace, has forgiven our sins because of Christ’s blood poured out for us in his sacrifice on the cross.

To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means that the Holy Spirit has renewed and sanctified us to be members of Christ, so that more and more we become dead to sin and live holy and blameless lives.

Q 71. Where does Christ promise that we are washed with his blood and Spirit as surely as we are washed with the water of baptism?
A 71. In the institution of baptism, where he says:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

“The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”

This promise is repeated when Scripture calls baptism “the water of rebirth” and the washing away of sins.

The Great Commission of Matthew 28 is the first place that we see it expressly commanded that Baptism is a vital part of the life of Christ followers.  It is important that we recognize how, though.  In Jesus’ parting words, the key action is not “go,” it is “make disciples.”  How we are to “make disciples” is by going, baptizing, and teaching.  These three supporting actions provide for us the model for outreach, discipleship, and the Christian life in general.

Baptism is an important part of this, not just because Jesus tells us to do it, but rather because of the significance and the reality that it points to.  The water of baptism symbolizes washing and it reminds us that God’s forgiveness is for us, no matter what age we are.  We are shown physically the grace of God and reminded of the promise of God that whoever believes in His Son, Jesus WILL be saved.  Jesus’ blood doesn’t stain, it washes us clean and makes us righteous before God.

We don’t think about this enough.  Baptism, far too often, is just a cute thing that we do.  Especially in the Reformed Church, where we practice infant baptism, it is an even that takes place where we get to see a little baby and celebrate a new life.  Sadly, we don’t often think of the reality that the event we are witnessing reminds us of.

Every day, at the end of the day, I take a shower.  I honestly cannot go to bed without doing so.  If I try, I feel sticky and gross and just can’t get around laying in my own filth.  So I shower.  The water washes me clean and I can end the day, crawling into bed free of the day’s filth.  Perhaps you have a similar experience?

In baptism we are reminded that, through faith in Jesus Christ, we too are washed clean.  Infant Baptism, something we will talk more about next week, reminds us of the true nature of this washing: it is the promise of God available to all, no matter how unaware of this reality we may be.  This washing removes the filth, the blemishes, the grime that is sin in our lives.  It taints every aspect of who we are and, without Christ, we would constantly be working to scrub it from ourselves.

But, we are washed.  You may notice that in the baptismal liturgy that is often read, it doesn’t say “you washed yourself clean,” but rather “you are washed clean.”  In Jesus Christ, we are washed clean.  We don’t have to lay in our own filth anymore.  Rather, we have been cleansed!  This is God’s work in our lives through Jesus Christ and it is an integral part of our identity.

Whether babies or new believers, the symbolism is the same: Forgiveness is for you, through faith in Jesus Christ.  The next time you take a shower, jump in a pool, take a dip in Lake Michigan, or even wipe the sweat off your face with a cold, wet cloth, think about your baptism.  Remember that you are washed in Christ’s blood, you have been made clean, and you can rest assured that we no longer have to wallow in our own mess but can dwell in God’s presence and security through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen!!



Blood and Spirit: H.C. Question 71

Where does Christ promise that we are washed with his blood and Spirit as surely as we are washed with the water of baptism?

Matthew 28:18-20 – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 16:16 – Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Titus 3:5 – he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Acts 22:16 – And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’