God did not give the Bible so we could master him or it; God gave the Bible so we could live it, so we could be mastered by it. The moment we think we’ve mastered it, we have failed to be readers of the Bible. – Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet
The sacrament of baptism in some early churches would make us blush today. New followers of Christ would come to the water in their old robes, strip down to only their birthday suits, be dipped in the water, and, upon exiting, receive new white robes.
It is beautiful imagery that states, “I’m coming to Christ and leaving my old life – this old cloak – on the shore. I’m bringing nothing with me, as I have nothing of value to offer Him. I’m crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, and raised to new life with Christ. As I step into this new life, I am clothed with Christ. I am unified with Christ.”
So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27)
The context for baptism in the early church is really interesting. To baptzo meant “dip and dye.” The idea was that a white cloth when dipped in the dye came up different. The cloth identified with the dye and was forever changed. (This was before the days of Clorox.)
What does it mean to be in Christ? It means He envelopes you, He clothes you, He identifies with you so strongly that you are inseparable from Christ – like the dye in the cloth. As His child, you are swallowed up into Christ. No other identity matters.
Yes, you are a child of God. Nothing else matters.
Jesus, I come to You with nothing of eternal value, and I stand before You bare, naked, and exposed. You see me for who I truly am and still extend Your hand in invitation. I accept this new life. I accept the clothing of Christ. I don’t always know how to live it, but I identify with You and ask that You will give a profound awareness of how You have dipped and dyed me in You. Amen.