Buried in Baptism

Read: Colossians 2:11-12

. . . having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised. (v. 12)

As part of his efforts to assure the Colossians of the certainty of their faith in the face of those pedaling opposing messages, Paul next shifted to the core of Christian identity: baptism. For Christian traditions that baptize infants, this verse confirms that baptism for Christians is what circumcision was for the Israelites. Circumcision marked a person as set apart for God, as adopted into the covenant by grace alone. And now baptism does this for us.

But we don’t always realize what is being symbolized in baptism. We tend to emphasize that the water symbolizes the blood of Jesus that washes away our sin. And that’s true. Baptism is that. But it is so much more: baptism is a death. It is a burial. Our sinful selves drown in those waters. We have to die with Christ because you cannot be resurrected with Jesus if you are not dead first. Baptism makes us a part of Jesus’ own dying and rising.

And this then becomes the core of our very identity from then on out. Every morning we should awaken to the thought “I’m baptized! My life is hidden in Christ! This is who I am now, and so today I will again act like I believe it!” Some churches have a ritual to recall the reality of our baptisms. The pastor says, “Remember your baptism and be thankful!” That ought to be our slogan every day! —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, remember your baptism and be thankful!

About the Author

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.

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