Here is a fun and enlightening exercise. Scan through the New Testament and every time you see the word baptize, substitute the word change – in your mind, of course. There are a few occasions where it doesn’t work, but most of the time it fits perfectly and may help you understand the text more clearly.
There is, I understand, an ancient Greek recipe for making pickles. The first step was to dip a cucumber in boiling water. That did little more than clean the cucumber and prepare it for the next step. The cucumber was then immersed and left for a time in a vinegar solution. The Greek word for the first step is bapto. The Greek word for the second step is baptizo. It was in that second step that the change from cucumber to pickle took place. The cucumber will never be the same again. It is from baptizo that we get the word baptize.
In that sense, the human soul is rather like the cucumber — a quick dip into religion doesn’t make much difference, but total immersion in Christ makes a profound change. Just like the cucumber, the change goes all the way through and the person will never be the same again.
Just what is the change that takes place in a Christian? The change is in our union and identification with Christ. A change that is real, permanent, eternal and far more significant any ceremony with water. What’s more important than that?
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