Weekly Devotional July 12, 2020
3. Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?4. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6: 3-4)
What We Should Know
The sacrament of baptism is a concept many people still misunderstand today. Some believe you must be baptized in order to be saved to eternal life. While serving as a chaplain at Tampa General Hospital, I was called to ICU on more than one occasion to offer last rites and baptize someone of the Catholic faith who had passed away. I even baptized a dead infant one night. While the Catholic Church no longer requires “Last Rites”, many “old school” parishioners still request it for their own peace of mind.
The United Methodist Church recognizes only two sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion) because these are the only rites initiated by Jesus Himself. The only relationship between these rites and salvation are through what John Wesley calls “Means of Grace”.
Means of grace are ways God works invisibly in us, hastening, strengthening and confirming faith so that God’s grace pervades in and through us. As we participate in Baptism, the water serves as our primary means of grace as we relive the washing away of sin. In Holy Communion, the broken bread and the juice represent for us the bloody sacrifice He freely gave so that the penalty of our sins would be paid in advance. Means of grace serve to unlock our heart’s door to accept the grace He offered.
While Baptism and Holy Communion themselves do not result in eternal life, they offer the “Means of Grace” we need to receive the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 26:26-27, Jesus declared the broken bread and the wine to represent His body and His blood (“Means of Grace”).