Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Take up your cross and follow me..."

Cascade Hills has come to a new milestone in its early life. Since the earliest days of our new church, we have been talking with others about steps along the journey of faith. Recently, a number of folks have grown more intentional about their faith (some recovering faith that had grown cold, others experiencing it for the first time) and we have begun talking with them about baptism.

As several of us from Cascade Hills have been looking together at the Scriptures where baptism is discussed, I noticed something I hadn't before. In several of the verses, Paul uses the terminology of being baptized "into Christ" (Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27). As we're explaining some of what is happening in baptism, this terminology has become very helpful. A person is "putting on" Christ, participating in His death, burial, and resurrection once and for all.

In contrast, I have heard the terminology of "inviting Jesus into my heart" used in some circles, and I am noticing a critical difference between the two phrasings. The first invites Jesus to come into my life, to meet me where I am, to become a part of my life. This is a very important step of faith that many people must make on the journey toward making Jesus Lord, but it is not the whole of the disciple's life. Rather, we take a much more radical step when we enter into His life, leaving the whole of our old life behind in the waters of the baptistry. The old has gone, the new has come. I have moved past the self-centered thinking of inviting Jesus into my life and I place Him at the center, answering His call to follow, entering fully into His life.

What a blessing to invite others to consider radical discipleship, for along that road we walk with Jesus!


Dwayne Hilty said...

Good perspective on what it means to pursue Jesus. I think the distinction between him coming into my life and me going into his life is an important one. The first seems to imply much less moving on my part, while the latter calls me to a life that isn't shaped my selfish definitions, but by the Messiah who eludes my simple boxes. The call to the process of discipleship, then, seems to be a call towards me conforming my life into that of Jesus. Don't suppose that takes place overnight.

Brian H. said...

It has always been difficult for me to explain the difference between these two actions, batpism and asking God into one's heart.

It isn't good enough to just say one act is biblical and the other is not. I hear arguments of that sort way too often.

I thank you very much for reflecting a bit more deeply upon the act of baptism.

Brian Humek
Irving, TX