"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, being justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."
Today's Prayer Focus
- Praise God for another adult baptism during worship this Sunday!
- Pray for more adult baptisms in our church, representing the work of God’s grace and the washing of rebirth in the hearts of adults making a profession of faith.
- For the sacrament of baptism to be a means of grace for all of us, reminding us of our own baptism, strengthening us in hope, and stirring us to love and obey God.
"Baptism and the Washing of Rebirth"
Throughout history, Christians have seen water baptism as a sacrament, the outward sign and seal of an inward reality. The outpoured water of baptism points to the lavish outpouring of the Holy Spirit on us in our new birth. It reminds us of the gospel, that we were saved, not by things we have done, but because of his mercy. This understanding of God’s generous grace is why we read Titus 3:5-6 whenever we have an adult baptism.
What does it mean for baptism to be a sign and seal? The late John Stott compared baptism to a wedding ring. The ring is a vivid and ever-present reality of the bond of marriage. It is a “sign and seal” of the marriage covenant. So every baptism is meaningful to all of us, far beyond our rejoicing in the baptism of an infant, or the profession of faith of an adult. It is a chance for all of us to reflect on our baptism and see it as a sign and seal of the gospel. Baptism reminds us of our cleansing from sin, our union with Christ, our membership in the body of Christ, and his mercy toward us.
So tomorrow in worship, let baptism be a strengthening for your own soul, an opportunity for us to see and experience the gracious gospel that our hearts believe.
Mike Tilley is the senior pastor of Lake Baldwin Church, and has lived in Orlando since 1994. He and his wife, Molly, worked with a core group from the Baldwin Park community to plant Lake Baldwin Church in 2006. Mike loves teaching the Bible in a way that relates to real life. In his spare time, Mike enjoys good movies, long dinner with friends, snow skiing, hanging out with his kids and two granddaughters, and travel.