Unification: Baptism’s Reminder
If there is anything I have grown to understand this year, it is my unification to Jesus. Over the past year, I have had a recurring question lurk in my thoughts: “What does God see in me?” In my heart I could relate to the sentiment of Psalm 8:4. “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” However, rather than experiencing the grateful peace that exists in those words, my heart wandered toward thinking God’s care for us is ridiculous and irrational.
While I believe God may sometimes leave me feeling baffled and in awe due to His mysterious nature, I did not think I should feel so unsettled about His graciousness. What merits such a treatment from a holy God? “God, I just don’t get why you participate in relationship with me.” This is where I would often be left. The lack of clarity I had in God’s basis for relationship with me made me uneasy, and it should for important reasons—because I’m neglecting someone.
“…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
These words from scripture that Jesus spoke helped me consider how my unification with Christ could be the reconciliation I needed to ease my understanding of God’s involvement in my life. The graciousness to promise His presence opened up my heart to experience the peace God wanted to give me. Because I’m united to Christ, God’s divine Son is with me presently and always. Of course there isn’t merit in myself; Jesus is the merit for me.
“And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” (Galatians 3:27)
Jesus’ presence in my life causes God to look at me and see Christ. I’m clothed in Him. Being in a relationship with Jesus fulfills our biggest need, because He allows us to have a relationship with the Father.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)
In our unification to Jesus, we are also unified with the Father. We know that this unity Christ brings cannot be taken lightly. There was a steep price to pay, a powerful enemy to defeat, and much suffering to endure to merit fellowship with the Father. Jesus knew it was right and just for the wrath of God to be poured out—either on us or a Substitute. And this is what the Father offers: His wrath poured out upon Christ, the pefect and spotless Lamb, who rose from death, demonstrating the Father’s acceptance of Jesus’ perfect payment.
One of the greatest challenges I encounter is to simply remember God—to consider Him in all I do and all I face, day in and day out. I’ve found, in baptism, a deeply embedded reminder of Jesus’ merit for me to be in relationship with God, and as a result, I’ve engaged in relationship with God more fondly, deeply, and consistently.
As of May 31st, it was a year since Pastor Cor baptized me in the Name of our triune God. Vividly potent in my memory are the moments of being under water and the moments of rising out; these are considerably precious gifts. These memories viscerally remind me of my unity to Christ: His death and resurrection.
“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. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:3-5)
To remember what I felt on the day, I wrote down what baptism represented to me: “Baptism for me today is a joyful act of honoring all that God has done for me, while treasuring who He always will be to me—the prize of my life, my King, my Lord, and my God.” Baptism for me now, additionally, has become a reminder of the tender, humbling, gracious, and loving sacrifice of Jesus which has merited my relationship with the Father through faith.