Baptism cleanses us from sin. The Greek word for baptism means “washed or cleansed.” The promise of baptism is that all my sins are washed away by God.
But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come – an eternity of life! (Titus 3:4-6, The Message)
And with infant baptism (like my grandson Jack’s baptism) that includes Original Sin.
The concept of Original Sin has been a troubling one for me. How can such an innocent baby be labeled as a sinner? It troubled me until I looked at this picture from Jack’s baptism.
Jack was born into a sinful world where sin has entrapped and ensnare him. Jack lives in a family system of sin. (For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23.) I will not speak for my daughter-in-law Maggie’s family, but I know my own family is tainted and trapped by sin. And the most notable offender being the grandpa who holds baby Jack. Our sin, our brokenness, our wayward fickle hearts will hurt and pull Jack away from God. Or to be perfectly honest, my sin, my brokenness, my wayward fickle heart will hurt and pull Jack away from God. And for that I need God’s grace and forgiveness as much as Jack.
As Frederick Buechner writes,
Original Sin means we all originate out of a sinful world, which taints us from the word go. We all tend to make ourselves the center of the universe, pushing away centrifugally from that center everything that seems to impede its freewheeling. More even than hunger, poverty or disease, it what Jesus said he came to save the world from. (Beyond Words, p. 369)
Jack’s baptism was a powerful reminder to me to once again claim the promise of my own baptism, to be washed clean of my sinful inclination to make it all about me. To remember that God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in and saved me. I need to walk “wet and clean,” especially when I am entrusted to love and hold Jack.
The great and glorious news is that Jesus Christ has cleansed Jack and me and given us newness of life.
Next post: D is for dying.
Lord Jesus, cleanse my heart again.