We must be a people who live up to our baptismal promises.

It may be that you do not consider baptism a promise, but it is precisely that. You and I have entered into a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We have made promises, and these promises bring responsibility and demands.

The Baptism Covenant is Frequently Compared to a Marriage Covenant

This covenant relationship is frequently, in Scripture, likened to the marriage covenant.

You find this in the Old Testament when the Lord God speaks of His relationship with Israel. The image of Israel the Bride, and her relation to the Lord God, who is a jealous husband, is a common Old Testament metaphor. Israel’s idolatry is frequently referred to as adultery on the premise that Israel is married to the Lord her God.

Saving faith is frequently compared to marriage in the New Testament as well.  Ephesians 5 is one of the obvious examples of this. In that passage, Paul refers to the relationship between husband and wife and likens it to that of Christ and the church:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

Romans 7 hints at this same kind of a covenant relationship.  We have, as Paul says in Romans 7: 4-5, died with respect to our former relationship in order that we might be joined to our Lord Jesus Christ:

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die by the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.

The Language of Intimacy

In our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we have been joined to Christ.  Paul uses the language of intimacy, the language of relationship as exists and prevails between husband and wife.

Just as surely as men and women make public promises when they enter into covenant relationship in marriage one with another, so we too, by our participation in baptism, have made public promises.


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The preceding was adapted by Rachel Motte from a sermon Dr. Sloan delivered at Tallowood Baptist Church on March 11, 1990.

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