Baptism and Communion are two physical observances God gave the Church.
God knows our frame; He knows that we’re made of dust. We are physical beings typically focused on physical things.
God, who is a spirit, is trying to communicate spiritual things to us. We’re slow to comprehend these spiritual things because we’re physical.
Thus, in order for God to get spiritual truth through our physical heads, He uses physical things to teach us.
In the Old Testament He used the tabernacle, priests, sacrifices, circumcision, and the Sabbath Day, among other things, to teach spiritual truth.
Instead of getting the spiritual truth, the Israelites focused on the physical stuff.
“Look, we got circumcised, we keep the Sabbath, and look at all the animals we killed! Where’s our pat on the back, God?”
Instead of a divine pat on the back, the prophets came and blasted them, “Yes, I know you killed animals and were circumcised, but your heart was nowhere near God and you missed the whole point.”
The Israelites never got to the spiritual point behind the physical illustration. Israelites, being physical, only did the physical thing and lost sight of the spiritual point.
Christians, who are physically minded just like Israelites, do the same thing.
We eat some dry crackers and stale juice, and get dunked in water, “I’m good. I did the physical thing God told me to do! Where’s my pat on the back, God?”
At no point, however, do most people move beyond with the eyes and ears of faith and truly understand what is going on with baptism and communion.
Much silliness has ensued.
We ought to stick with the Scriptures, but alas, the Scriptures can be a little confusing on these issues.
You may think going to commentaries to get insight into baptism and communion would help.
Commentaries rarely deal with the passage you looked up. What they will do is inform you of all the things the commentator believes about baptism and communion.
“Just tell me what the passage means!” I scream at the commentaries.
“Oh, so what you want to hear is my beliefs about baptism that are unrelated to this passage in every way. Right, here you go” the commentaries deafly reply.
Getting your answers from a church will typically be unhelpful as well. You’ll just get their church tradition everyone is too afraid to examine or challenge. Some church traditions are better than others, but they often take on a non-biblical life of their own.
I’d like to look into these issues a little more from a Scriptural standpoint and try to ignore all the weird things floating around out there people have invented and tacked on to the subjects.
As physical people, I can’t help but think we’re completely missing what God is talking about. Then again, maybe someone has it figured out and I’m the idiot. Always possible. But I’d like to at least check!