Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 6:1-14 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Who likes Oreos? I always eat my Oreos with milk. You probably do too! I take my Oreo and dunk it as deep as I can into the milk, trying my best not to get my fingers too wet. I hold the cookie under the milk until it’s soft and then it begins the journey into my mouth. Yum!
Speaking of getting dunked, Paul talks about baptism in Verse 3. He refers to our baptism as a symbol of dying with Christ and then being resurrected into a new life with Him.
The word "baptize" in the Greek is baptizo. It means to immerse or to submerge. While this applies to our practice of water baptism, it is more pointedly centered around a relationship with Christ. In other words when we are submerged, or immersed, in Christ, then we not only are one with His death but we also live in His resurrection.
Back to my Oreos. When I submerge them for exactly the right amount of time, the milk begins to seep into the chocolate cookie pieces and infiltrate the creamy middle. The cookie and the milk start to fuse and cause an endorphin rush that reinforces this activity. (I want to do it again and again!)
To be submerged in Christ long enough and often enough reinforces hope and trust, and soon every fiber of our soul yearns to be constantly infused with the Divine outpouring of Jesus into our being. Christ infiltrates our every breath, our every thought, and our very being.
Many well-intentioned believers have come to me through the life of my ministry truly concerned that if their loved one isn’t baptized, they won’t be saved. They sincerely believe that if the person they care for does not go through the baptismal ritual there is no hope for salvation.
While I do not discredit the importance of a water baptism and its value to the community, I believe that there is more to the Kingdom than being dunked in water. First of all, many people dunk in water every day, but their lives aren’t changed on any cosmic scale.
Second, all of us who have experienced a water baptism have also experienced what it’s like to mess up afterwards. In other words, water baptisms don’t miraculously make new creatures out of us.
No, it is being immersed in Jesus that makes a new creature out of me. His spirit softens my hardened shell. His persistence changes the very makeup of my being. I die with Him, and live for Him daily!
Pick up an Oreo today. Dunk it deep and hold it for a bit. As you pull it out, may it bless you with the reminder that God wants to submerge you in His greatness.
Recalibrate: How can your praxis of baptizo become more meaningful in your life beyond a water baptism?
Respond: God, please infuse me with your brilliance until I am softened and changed!
Research: Read the story of Nicodemus and Jesus in John 3. What kind of baptism are they talking about?
Remember: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14, ESV).
Place a bunch of kid-safe magnets on the floor in front of the fridge. Show your little one how the magnets stick to the fridge. Pull them off and let your little one stick them back on again. Show them how magnets can hold things up like paper or feathers. Just like the magnets are drawn to the metal of the fridge, we are drawn to whom or what we love. Draw close to love.
Have you ever played with magnetic toys? If you have magnets on your fridge or magnetic toys, take them around your home inside and out and see what they will stick to. Can you feel the pull of the magnets just before they stick together? You can draw up a chart of what you think they will stick to and then see if they do. Just like the magnets, we are drawn to what we love. When we love Jesus, we choose to draw close to Him.
Have you been baptized? Have you ever thought of the symbolism behind it? The text explains how when we are lowered into water it represents the burial of Jesus, but when we are raised back up it represents the resurrection of Jesus! Choosing to get baptized is choosing to take part in this life-saving resurrection. But why aren’t we all perfect afterwards? Why do some people get baptized and seem the same afterwards? There must be a personal transformation. Take a moment to evaluate your walk with God. Would you put yourself in heaven? How would you determine that? What does the text say?