More About Baptism (for older saints)

The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.  -St. Augustine

We tend to think of baptism as something that started in the New Testament, and it’s true that the first time it’s specifically mentioned in the Bible is in Matthew 3:13 when we learn about John baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River.  There are several places in the Old Testament, however, where we can see God starting to prepare His people for the New Covenant plan of baptism (CCC 1217-1222):

  • When God first created water, He made it a source of life.  We all need water to for our bodies to live and we need baptism for our eternal life in heaven.  (Genesis 1:9-11)
  • The flood of Noah’s time was an end to sin and a beginning of new goodness.  Noah’s family was saved, and the Ark points to how we are saved through Baptism.  (Genesis 6:9-9:17, 1 Peter 3:20-21)
  • The Israelites passed through the waters of the Red Sea as they literally moved from slavery to freedom.  This points the way to how we are freed from sin at baptism. (Exodus 14:10-31)
  • Finally, when they crossed the Jordan River, the Israelites received the great gifts that God had long ago promised to Abraham.  (Joshua 1:2-3, 3:14-17)

All of these stories foreshadow baptism.  Reading scripture this way—seeing pieces of the New Testament foreshadowed in the Old Testament—is known as reading scripture in the “allegorical sense”.  (CCC 117)

Through baptism your life is entirely changed and you’ll never be the same again!  In fact, you get an mark on your soul that can never, ever be erased; this mark shows that you belong to Christ. (CCC  1272, 1280)  In baptism you are united with Christ in a very real way – you become an actual part of His body and you get a share in the life of God! (CCC 985, 1265, 2017)  You become a member of the Church and you receive a new name; from then on, you can rightfully be called a Christian! (CCC 1267)  All traces of Original Sin and actual sins are removed and you receive the graces you need to resist sin in the future.  (CCC  1263, 1279)  In fact, you receive many more graces to live a Christian life through baptism.  (CCC 1266)   However, we still struggle with concupiscence (the tendency towards sin), which we must always fight against. (CCC 1264)

You receive the Theological Virtues of faith, hope and charity (love), and the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude – holy habits to help you grow into a better friend of Christ.  AND because you were baptized in Christ, you have the hope of living forever with Him in heaven someday!

No wonder Jesus’ last words to His disciples were these:

Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
-Matthew 28:19-20

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