The ABC’s of Lent | Baptism | Acts 2.38 |

by | Mar 1, 2020

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2.38

The ABC’s of Lent includes short reflections on the season and the days approaching Easter, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. These ABC’s are twenty-six entries drawing us closer to the cross and closer to communion with our God. Yesterday we began with “ashes”, marking the start of lent with Ash Wednesday and the significance of humbling our self to God.

Today we are looking at baptism as a part of our Lenten journey, which is in truth, Jesus’ journey to the cross and beyond.

Baptism is the mark of a Christian believer. A sign of our death to self and rising to new life in Christ. A moment where our sins are washed away and we are initiated as members of Christ’s holy family. The command in Acts 2.38 from Peter to the listeners at Pentecost was this — “Repent and be baptized.” I would like to emphasis the AND. It’s not repent or be baptized. It is both — “Repent AND be baptized.” You shouldn’t have one without the other. The two are interwoven as much as the two sides of a coin.

Repentance is a turning away of our sins and baptism is the person and public act of that turning. It’s the “dying to self and living for God” response that puts us firmly in Christ’s camp. To be baptized leads to repentance, and to repent should result in baptism.

When Peter was speaking to the early followers he was echoing words of both Jesus and John the Baptizer who said, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” And “be baptized all of you for the forgiveness of sins.” Peter was saying that which he heard, responded to and obeyed. And to do this in the “name of Jesus Christ.”

The progression is clear — repent, be baptized in Jesus name, forgiveness of sins will follow and a filing of the Holy Spirit will ensue. Lent is this type of journey even for us who have already met and surrendered to Jesus in years previous. We continue to repent, we remember our baptism, we receive forgiveness, and we are filled again with the power and presence of God Almighty.

Aren’t we glad that we have a God who doesn’t leave us to our own demise? A God who offers free will but also freedom through salvation? A God who is relentless in his pursuit of his children, even if those children are forever wandering in the wilderness, seeking their own way over the Lords.

Today in our Lenten reflection we remember baptism. A sacramental symbol of God’s love for us and our response to God.

“O Lord God, thank for salvation. I thank you for baptism and for your grace. Thank you for saving me from my sins and renewing my heart for your glory. I thank you for your patience as I relinquish my will and live for you. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me once again with your love. Help me surrender to you and to continue to repent during this Lenten journey. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen