The two main ordinances of the church are baptism and communion. While opinions differ about baptism, depending on the denomination you are affiliated with, the truth is found in Romans six.
Paul tells us in Romans 6 that those of us that have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death. Therefore when it comes to baptism in a church, such as being dunked in water, it is really a representation of being baptized into Christ’s death; hence the reason why one is dunked into the water and raised back again. Paul tells us we have been joined to Christ in his death, meaning we have been placed into Christ, which in turn means we have also subsequently been buried and raised with him too. So, being baptized into Christ is God placing us in his Son.
When it comes to the act of communion there, once again, may be differing opinions about how to conduct ones self. Some will say you are to use real wine and unleavened bread, while others aren’t so particular and will use something such as grape juice and wafers. Either way the point in this, I think, is receiving Christ.
Jesus once said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-56) Of course taken literally it sounds like Jesus is advocating cannibalism but if you read a little further you will see where he said, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” Jesus had a way of speaking to and from the spirit and most misunderstood him. Without the Spirit it sounds foolish but we know he meant we have to receive him or we have no life in us.
Now, when it comes to the communion table there are two elements the blood and bread. The blood is the one that tends to receive most of the focus because most hear that Jesus’ blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. This is true and is unspeakably wonderful, but what about the bread? The bread represents Jesus’ body, but what does it mean that his body was given? The blood shows us that Jesus died for us but the body side teaches us that we were joined to him and we died too. We shared in the crucifixion as well. It isn’t just that he died for us he died as us.
Jesus died as us. That is a powerful statement that needs a little thought. Like I said earlier in Romans six we discover that we are crucified with Christ. God, in the Spirit, placed us in him and we were co-crucified with Christ. This means that when Christ died we died too. That old man, the sinner, was done away with on the cross and a new man in Christ walked out of the tomb three days later. When we get baptized in water we are saying, to the watching world, this exact thing. We are saying that the old sinful creature we used to be is now gone and we have been transformed into a new creature that is now indwelt with Christ. That’s what makes us Christians. Christ is in us and us in him. Amen!!
Written by Louie