Baptism and Spiritual Gifts

Baptism is an identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It’s no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.

Salvation is a loss of self. You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. You lose your life to keep it. You take up the cross and deny your self.

These aren’t just high sounding metaphors. This is what the Gospel literally does to the believer. You lose yourself in Jesus Christ.

When Paul speaks of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14, he has baptism as a part of the foundation.

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

You should note that he’s not talking about getting wet baptism. This is the baptism into Christ idea again. This is all done by the Spirit. Note also he says we “were all given the same Spirit to drink.” The Spirit is linked with water, or at least drinkable liquid!

Baptism is immersion into Christ. The life of the believer is now about edifying the Body of Christ. Before conversion the individual was entirely filled with pride and self-serving. Salvation delivers you from this.

Love is the outflow of losing yourself.

If you’re already dead then nothing belongs to you. You don’t mind giving and sharing and going the extra mile. If you’re still living in your sin and have not crucified the old man with his deeds, you’re going to use all your stuff for you. “No chance am I sharing! I’m looking out for #1!”

You know you’ve been baptized into Christ when you have a desire to actually take an interest and physically help OTHER PEOPLE. Love your neighbor. You will have spiritual fruit—love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, which are only possible if you see yourself as dead.

When you lose yourself in Christ you are equipped by the Holy Spirit to serve the Body of Christ. Your identity is gone. You’re not upset about gender roles, racial differences, or class warfare (no male or female, no bond or free, no Jew or Gentile, we only see ourselves as in Christ). None of the physical identifiers are important anymore. You’re not offended by slights against those physical attributes because you’re already dead!

You lose yourself in Christ entirely, right down to the things that define you.

When this truly happens you begin to serve and love others. You desire to build people up, not tear them down to get ahead.

Most churches are filled with people who are still very much alive in the flesh. They must demonstrate their opinions, anger, outrage, offendedness, and all manner of other self-centered, self-serving things. They are not at church for others; they are there for themselves and if they don’t get served you will hear about it.

One good measure of your aliveness in the flesh is how quickly you get offended.

The believer loves offensive people anyway and patiently puts up with them. But boy howdy would it be helpful if they got their act together! Imagine how great a church could be if it were made up of people who didn’t care about their rights and demands and offendednesses!

True believers in Christ are dead. Baptism symbolizes this death. We are then fully immersed in Christ. Not about me anymore; it’s all about Christ. If this were true your life would be different. If this were true of our churches, you’d never want to skip!

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