Life after Baptism
Last month, we had eight brothers and sisters indicate that
they are uniting with the Lord, becoming one with Him and testifying for Jesus
Christ through the ceremony of Baptism. We should praise and thank God for them
and pray that God will sustain their growth in the Lord.
Baptism is a milestone in the spiritual journey of a reborn
and saved Christian, just as the River Jordan was the watershed between life in
the wilderness and life in Canaan for the
Israelites. After crossing over the River Jordan, their life of wandering in
the wilderness was officially at an end, and their life of abundance in Canaan immediately commenced. From the life of the
Israelites after they traversed the River Jordan on dry land behind the Ark of
the Covenant, we can observe several lessons for Christians after they believed
and have been baptized.
Setting up stones
after crossing the river (Joshua 4:1-9) – God ordered the people to gather 12
stones from the middle of the River Jordan and set them up in Gilgal, as a memorial of the Lord leading them across the
river and a witness to later generations. To Christians, baptism is an
important milestone in our spiritual journey, and we should brand this moment
of testimony into our memories. Christians only need to be baptized once. The
ceremony represents our resolve to be united with Christ, become a living rock
that is filled with the Holy Spirit, and be built up in the Lord together with
other believers into the temple of the Spirit.
circumcision (Joshua 5:2-9) – After crossing the river, the Israelites
performed the ceremony of circumcision at Gilgal.
This was to affirm their obedience to the laws of God, steadfastly uphold the
covenant their ancestors made with the Lord, and also indicate their resolve to
cut off the shame of Egypt
and their irreverent lifestyles. After being baptized, Christians should
resolve as well to abandon all worldly values and behaviors that favour the flesh, determine to give up the evil deeds and
bad habits that displease God, and abhor sin because of fear of the Lord.
Passover (Joshua 5:10-11) – After crossing the river, the Israelites celebrated
Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at Gilgal.
This was their first keeping of the feast after leaving Egypt, and was in remembrance of the grace of
God that saved them from Egypt.
Baptized members attend the Breaking of Bread service to remember the great
grace of salvation of Jesus Christ. This service was established by the Lord
Himself. Unleavened bread represents His unblemished body that was broken apart
for us so as to supply life. The grape juice in the cup represents the new covenant
that He made with us in blood. Of the many gatherings in the church, the
Breaking of Bread service is the most important, for we should constantly
remember the Lord together with our brothers and sisters.
The stopping of
manna (Joshua 5:12) – After the Israelites crossed the river,
God stopped supplying them with manna for food. They began to eat the produce
of the land of Canaan. The life of a Christian needs to
grow by reading the Bible every day in order to receive the word of God. To a
new believer, manna is like the teachings of pastors and spiritual books that
are easy to be absorbed. God wishes that our spiritual lives will grow and we
will no longer be babies that are solely reliant on milk fed by others. God
hopes that we will consume solid food and directly receive His word ourselves.
After baptism, Christians should learn to receive God’s word through the
assistance of the Holy Spirit and seek understanding. Then, we will come to
know the wonder and bounty of the word of God.
God as the commander
(Joshua 5:13-15) – The Israelites had to prepare for battle after crossing the Jordan. At that
time, Joshua saw the commander of God’s army. He had come to lead the people
into battle and help them capture all of the land of Canaan.
After baptism, Christians should continue to exalt the life of the commander of
the grace of salvation, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and live a
triumphant life. God is our strength and support. The enemy may be as powerful
as the seven tribes of Canaan, but if we remain
bold in the Lord, don the full armour bestowed by
God, and work according to the Holy Spirit, then we will triumph against Satan.
“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself
alone. If we live, we live to the Lord.” (Romans 14:7-8)