This is my article that was published today in the Natoma-Luray Independent of The Russell County News, and will be published tomorrow in The Plainville Times.
The power of Baptism
There is a joke that many are often fond of telling about their habit of reading the newspaper: they always make sure to read the obituaries to make sure their own name is not listed.
It is interesting reading obituaries from time to time; just to see how far a person traveled, or how their family has spread out from where they were born. Reading some local obituaries is sometimes a trip down memory lane as you see the names of businesses and places that are no longer around today. Each time a person dies, a little bit of the history and memories of the community die as well.
A person’s faith does not always make the formal obituary; other than to indicate where the person attended church. That is comforting, at least the person heard the Word; at least the person was familiar with the Gospel; at least they had the opportunity to hear that their sins were forgiven.
But one thing would clear up any doubt or any question that would come up about what happened to the person when they died: an indication of whether or not the person was baptized.
Baptism, more than anything else, is a certain indicator of the salvation of the person; it indicates that the Lord of heaven and earth placed His name upon this person; that this is someone for whom Christ came into the world and suffered and died and rose from the dead for. Baptism indicates that this person has been given the promise of the forgiveness of sins and of eternal life.
It seems like a small deal, hardly worth mentioning at all; especially since for so many of us, baptism occurred a long time ago, when we were only a few days old. And yet, that event is more important than where you go to school, or where you lived or what you did, or even the family members that you leave behind.
To hear the simple words that one was a baptized child of God is of far more comfort then hearing anything else about the person, because it allows those who mourn to know that the one that they mourn for is not mourning at all; they are rejoicing in the presence of Christ for all eternity.