Baptism a Way of Life
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. (Rom 6:3,4)
Baptism has been described as an outward sign of an inward change. This inner change manifests itself “in a new way of living.” Unfortunately, not all who are baptized experience the inward transformation that should precede this rite. Such persons continue to live the same old life of sin they lived before they were baptized.
Clovis Soldiers and their Baptism
About AD 500, Clovis, king of the Franks, won a victory over the Alamanni, after which he accepted Christianity and was baptized. After his baptism, he offered a tunic to any of his warriors who accepted his new religion. Gregory of Tours says that 3,000 accepted tunics and were baptized. However, as these men went down into the water, many of them held their right-hand high. That was so that later they could say “This hand was never baptized,” and consequently they could swing their battle as freely as before.
One cannot help wondering how much of an inward change these men experienced. Fortunately, not all baptismal candidates are like these Frankish warriors.
Canadian Engineer baptizes with his Wallet
A Canadian railroad engineer was about to be immersed in baptism when his pastor noticed a bulge in his hip pocket. The pastor asked him if he hadn’t forgotten to remove his wallet.
“No,” the baptismal candidate replied, “I didn’t forget. I purposely left it there. I want it to be baptized, too.”
What a commendable attitude!
The inward change that precedes baptism does not mean that henceforth the candidate is sinless, any more than a newborn infant is fully developed. What it does mean is that when we are born again our life moves in a heavenward direction. So long as we continue progressing in this direction, we are walking “in a new way of living.”
PS: Taken from Sure as the Dawn by Donald Ernest Mansell and Vesta West Mansell.