Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38–39)
We live in a ‘look at me’ egocentric age.
It isn’t just the athletes who pound on their chests in a show of pride and who hold their hands out palms up as if demanding to be recognized and praised for something as trivial as catching a thrown ball.
Blatant self-promotion has taken hold of the masses with the advent of social media like Facebook. While there are those who use such media to give glory to the Triune God and to thank Him for His gifts, some seem to forget the One who gave them their gifts but declare in word and post, “Hey, look at me!” Sad to say, some don’t even consider that what is said can even hinder Christian witnessing!
This “Hey, look at me!” attitude is even gaining foothold among those who call themselves Christians.
It isn’t just the Billy Graham types who call upon spiritually dead and powerless sinners to ‘make their decision for Christ’ (as if the spiritually dead can do anything to aid in their conversion). It’s also those who subtly—and sometimes not so subtly—strip the sacraments of their true power and make of them something that THEY DO FOR GOD rather than a means of grace, something that GOD DOES FOR THEM.
In the ultimate coup the glory that belongs to the Spirit of God is stolen by increasing numbers of those calling themselves Christian…for themselves. For example, in some cases Baptism is no longer called Baptism but a Dedication. That isn’t a subtle change…it is a blatant turning of the spotlight from the Spirit of God…to man.
Am I overreacting?
What is Baptism? How should we look at Baptism? When we bring our children to be baptized, are we seeking the blessing of the Triune God for our children, or is it a good work that we do— something we do for God?
And when we come to the Lord’s Supper, is it a good work that we do—a meal we dedicate to Christ? Or is it a meal served by Him—a spiritual blessing offered to us by the Christ?
In both cases, it is the latter. The Triune God is at work in Baptism. The Triune God offers the spiritual blessing in the Lord’s Supper.
It’s NOT about us but about Christ and His amazing love and mercy. It’s about Christ, whose selfless sacrifice and powerful word of promise make Baptism what it is–a gracious water of life and a washing that regenerates (See Titus 3:5). It’s about Christ, whose glorious resurrection makes the Lord’s Supper a personal confirmation of sins forgiven.
There is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ in the sacraments…because Christ is the power and active force in these spiritual blessings. Thus we shouldn’t think of them as works we do FOR GOD, but as acts in which He works FOR US.