One of my earliest childhood memories of church was a pastor walking down the aisle, challenging us to “remember the waters of our baptism.” Remember the waters? I asked myself. How can you remember water? He then proceeded to splash everyone with water, which as a young child both delighted and confused me.
Why should we think about baptism? When a person is baptized, there’s so much more to it than water. Baptism symbolizes how through faith in Jesus, we’ve become “clothed” with Him (Galatians 3:27). Or in other words, it’s celebrating that we belong to Him and that He lives in and through us.
As if that weren’t significant enough, the passage tells us that if we’ve been clothed with Christ our identity is found in Him. We’re the very children of God (v. 26). As such, we’ve been made right with God by faith—not by following Old Testament law (vv. 23–25). We’re not divided against one another by gender, culture, and status. We’re set free and brought into unity through Christ and are now His own (v. 29).
So there are very good reasons to remember baptism and all it represents. We aren’t simply focusing on the act itself but that we belong to Jesus and have become children of God. Our identity, future, and spiritual freedom are found in Him.
What does it mean for you to be clothed with Christ and to belong to Him? What are ways in which you can regularly celebrate and remember the meaning of baptism?
Much has been written about Paul’s view of the law as it relates to the Christian life. The apostle wrote about the law in several letters to the early believers in Jesus, most notably in his letter to the Romans. Here in Galatians, Paul initially paints the law as a jailer who held us in custody until faith was revealed (3:23). A jailer restricts prisoners’ activities and keeps them confined within certain parameters. In verse 24, however, Paul calls the law our guardian—a role with a different connotation. A guardian is charged with protection and safety; one who keeps those under his care from harm and helps them to grow and flourish. In each case, jailer or guardian, Paul says that because faith has come, they’re no longer needed.