30 June 2003

Baptism and the life in Christ

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of my life in Christ. On this day 46 years ago I received the sacrament of baptism at Westminster Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Westchester, Illinois (now located in the nearby community of Indian Head Park).

At one time in my life I did not make as much of this day as I do now. But, along with Calvin, I believe that our baptism, far from being diminished or cancelled by subsequent sin, is a sign of one's union with Christ for the whole of life. This union is effected by the grace of God, which comes to us even before we are aware of it.

The following is from the Heidelberg Catechism's section on baptism:

Q. How does baptism remind you and assure you that Christ's one sacrifice on the cross is for you personally?

A. In this way: Christ instituted this outward washing and with it gave the promise 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, in other words, all my sins.

Several months ago the members of the session of Westminster Church were kind enough to make up and send me a baptismal certificate, based on their back minutes from 1957.

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