Scripture: Romans 2-25-3:8
Key verse: (28) A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.
Reflection: My home church pastor uses a great analogy to teach the kids (and adults) about baptism during the service — others may use this as well. The analogy is that of a swimmer. You see, in baptism we are baptized into Christ’s death. This is like when the swimmer dives into the water; Jesus died and went into the grave. A swimmer may hold their breath and stay under water; Jesus stayed in the tomb for three days. And just like a swimmer comes out of the water, we are baptized into Christ’s resurrection and raised to new life. Also, when the simmer gets out of the pool, the water clings to the body. Our baptism clings to us; we are soaking wet with the new life of Christ forever.
We are changed inwardly and outwardly by God’s grace in baptism. Baptism is the visible sign of our being claimed by the Spirit and our being grafted into Christ. Paul is asking those in his time, “What good is it to be circumcised (baptized) if you only hide behind the law?” Hypocrisy is not to be valued. Paul calls out the Jews of his day as they claim to be one thing, while their conduct says otherwise.
The New Testament calls baptism the circumcision of Christ. We have been made new in Christ. This is an inward and an outward transformation. How are you living out your baptism? May we remember this so that we may not fall into the same error of claim without conduct.
Prayer: Holy One, you have called me beloved and a child of God, and in your love that is what I am. Help me to live into the promise of baptism each and every day of my life. Amen.
Author: Ben Brannan
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].