Signs To Remember
Dear God, I come before You today with faith and thanksgiving, remembering Your great grace towards me.
Read Joshua 5:1-12
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
The sacrament of baptism relates to our Christian beginnings, and that of communion to our Christian living.
Entering into God’s covenant and maintaining our membership of his people are vitally important for our spiritual lives. For Jewish people, circumcision of males and the celebration of Passover are perhaps the two most important signs of belonging to the covenant people. For us today, baptism and communion, the signs that we are members of the new covenant, mirror these Jewish practices.
Why had the Israelites not practiced circumcision in the wilderness wanderings? The generation born in the 40 years after the Exodus, either through disobedience or lack of faith (6), had failed to practice the sign that Jewish males normally receive on the eighth day after birth, but is also practiced on those older as a requirement before they can celebrate the Passover (Exod. 12:48). This means that a generation who had gone through the wilderness had forgotten to celebrate God’s act of redemption. The “reproach of Egypt” (9) is not only the disgrace of slavery, but also the disgrace of uncircumcision (Gen. 34:14).
Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we can often lose sight of the fundamentals of our faith and our walk with the Lord. The business of today’s world, the pressures to conform and compromise, and the lack of vitality in our churches can cause us to lose heart, grow spiritually cold, and go through the motions of faith without genuine spiritual passion and commitment. In the New Testament we read that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts, but “faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6). Today we celebrate communion knowing that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” and we should celebrate the feast with “sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:7,8).
How do you show that you value the covenant signs of baptism and communion? How relevant and important are they in the life of your congregation?
Father, as I think of my baptism I remember beginning my journey with You. As I gather with others at Your table, I am reminded of my need for You.
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