I am visibly reminded every day that I belong to my wife. I wear a wedding ring on my ring finger and it is a sign and seal of the love between us. But often I forget that I am married to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I was marked by God’s Triune name in my baptism which first and foremost serves as a sign and seal that I belong to him. It also binds me to him in solemn commitment. But because I don’t sprinkle water on myself everywhere I go, I often forget that I belong to him.
The Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 34 says
“Neither does this baptism avail us only at the time when the water is poured upon us and received by us, but also through the whole course of our life.”
The grace conferred by the Holy Spirit through baptism isn’t tied to the moment of baptism. We are to embrace the promise by faith throughout our entire lives. We are to recall the waters of our baptism. God has marked us as his people. When we are tempted to sin we should remember our baptism. When we are tempted to leave the church we should remember our baptism. When we are tempted to doubt we should remember our baptism. God has committed himself to us and we belong to him.
This made me think, what are some practical ways in which we as baptized Christians can recall our baptism more often? Usually we only do this when we witness a baptism in the worship service or hear a sermon on baptism. But since this doesn’t happen too often, perhaps there are ways in which we can recall our baptism more often, even daily. Here are a few suggestions:
- We could include a reference to our baptism in our daily prayers. For example, “Most Merciful Heavenly Father, I belong to you. I have been baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The water of my baptism assures me that I am really washed of all of my sins and forgiven by the blood of Christ. It also assures me that I am being washed and renewed by the Holy Spirit day by day. Thank you O God for washing me and making me clean. Give me the grace to live a life that visibly shows the world that I have been baptized and belong to you.” (this prayer could either be prayed in its entirety or simply open with the first two sentences).
- We could memorize a catechism question and answer on baptism and recite it weekly or even daily. Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 69-70 would work.
- We could include a reference to our baptism in the order of our worship service. For example, the minister could at some point during the beginning of the service say something like, “We are gathered together in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the name that we have been baptized in.” Or during the declaration of pardon the minister could say something like, “In the name of Jesus Christ and based on the authority of his Word and confirmed in your baptism, I declare to you that your sins are forgiven and you are not under the condemnation of God.”
- The baptismal font could and should be visibly present in the service just as the table of the Lord usually is. This will remind us every week of our baptism.
- If you are going to decorate your house with God’s Word, why not use verses that communicate God’s commitment to you, signified and sealed in baptism. I often see houses that have some sort of decorative object with the words of Joshua 24:15 inscribed on it (I’ll admit it, we have one in our house): “Choose this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Instead of posting something that reminds you of your commitment to God, why not have something that reminds you of God’s commitment to you in your baptism: Perhaps something like Rom. 6:4: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” I know, I know it isn’t as catchy. Maybe you can think of another verse.
These are just a few suggestions off the top of my head on how we might remind ourselves more often of our baptism. Any other suggestions?