I came upon this devotional published by Nathan Nass on a page (Upside Down Savior: https://upsidedownsavior.home.blog/2023/09/19/baptism-gods-work-in-us) when looking for devotionals. The devotional expresses the idea of baptism as a sacrament – (God working in us rather than we working our salvation by ourselves). I felt compelled to publish it on Kerux in the hopes that it would bless someone.
“In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:11-12)
Following rules doesn’t bring us close to God. Want an example? Paul mentions circumcision. False teachers in Paul’s day were saying that Christian men still needed to be circumcised in order to be saved. According to them, they needed to cut off a piece of their flesh to be closer to God.
But here’s the thing: Our real problem isn’t on the outside. It’s on the inside. It’s our sinful hearts. If you cut off a piece of your body, does that make you holy? No! If you stop eating a certain food, does that make you holy? No! We don’t just need to follow a rule or two on the outside. We need to be reborn. We need to die and rise again with a new heart. Following rules doesn’t bring us closer to God.
So how can we be changed from the inside out? In baptism. “Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” How was our whole sinful flesh buried? In baptism. How were we reborn with Christ? In baptism. Following rules might make us look good on the outside. In baptism, God changes us on the inside.
That’s not a popular teaching these days. Many Christian churches say, “Baptism is an outward sign of our commitment to Christ. Baptism is our obedience to God’s rules!” Hold on. Do you think we do this “burying” and “rising” ourselves? No way! Who works in us through the waters of baptism? God does!
Through a miracle, God uses the waters of baptism to put to death your sinful nature and give you a new life of faith in Christ. In baptism, we do nothing. God does everything! That’s why even babies are baptized. Instead of trusting in our rules, trust in God’s promise. In your baptism, God changed you from the inside out.
Dear Jesus, I needed to be changed from the inside out, because my sins come from my own heart. Thank you for giving me a new heart through the miracle of baptism. Always stay close to me. Amen.