Christian Quotes

Dodd: Paul on baptism

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Meditation:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
—Romans 6:1-3 (ESV)

Quotation:
[Paul] makes use of the symbolism of baptism, which in the East was performed by the complete immersion of the believer in water. “We were buried with Christ through our baptism (and so entered) into a state of death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the splendour of the Father, we too might walk in the newness which belongs to (real) life.” To the rite as such Paul did not attach overwhelming importance. “Christ,” he says, “did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel.” … Paul recognized in the idea a most suggestive figure for the change wrought by faith in Christ.

He found it necessary to guard against the crude sacramentalism which found in the mere physical process, as such, the actual impartation of new life, quite apart from anything taking place in the realm of inward experience. The Israelites in the wilderness … received baptism in the Red Sea and in the cloud which overshadowed them; and yet they were disobedient, “the majority of them God did not choose,” and they perished miserably. The inference is plain. No sacramental act achieves anything unless it is an outward symbol of what really happens inwardly in experience. The test of that is the reality of the new life as exhibited in its ethical consequences. “How can we who are dead to sin live any longer in sin?” If baptism is a real dying and rising again, then it is indeed a profound revolution in the personal life, a revolution which is simply bound to! show itself in a new moral character.

C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today, London: Swarthmore, 1920, reprint, Fount Paperbacks, 1978, p. 118-119 (see the book)
See also Rom. 6:1-11; 1 Cor. 1:1-11,13-17; 10:1-5; Col. 2:10-13
Quiet time reflection:
Lord, we acknowledge Your power and grace in sacraments, as You directed. CQOD Blog email RSS
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