Happy American Independence Day! Today is also the anniversary of my baptism in water!
I was baptized, first, as an infant in an ELCA Lutheran church, per German tradition. I won’t say there’s anything wrong with baptizing infants, but true baptism is a personal choice. As I began to understand my own relationship with the Lord, I wanted to demonstrate my commitment to Him through baptism. I didn’t have a home church at this time, so I went back to my family’s Lutheran church and met with each of the pastors until I had convinced one to baptize me ‘again’–this time by immersion, since the word baptism literally means ‘to immerse, to submerge, to cleanse, to overwhelm’.
I consider that this “second” baptism was my ONE baptism, as Ephesians 4:5 says (“one Lord, one faith, one baptism“).
The baptism in water is a baptism of repentance (Matt 3), an appeal to God for a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21), and a baptism into death as we symbolically (and in our hearts) lay down our lives for the Lord that we may be resurrected in Him with a renewed mind (Rom 6). Baptism in water isn’t the only baptism (there is also the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the baptism in fire; Matt 3:11), but the baptism in water is special because it marks our heartfelt commitment to God the Father and the significance of our decision to follow Jesus by sacrificing ourselves. And while we should continuously ask for more of the Holy Spirit and to be refined by His fire, it only takes one heartfelt baptism in water to enter into a covenant commitment with the Lord.
Being baptized in water was a very special day for me–as it should be. I was baptized in the bay at my parent’s summer property with only a handful of close friends and family. I cried through the whole ceremony because I was so moved by the gravity of my commitment to Jesus. I could barely say the vows I had chosen.
I didn’t plan to be baptized on the Fourth of July, but the symbolism is perfect! Just as we celebrate our country’s freedom, I am celebrating my personal freedom through Christ. Praise the Lord!