Saturday in the Last Week of Ordinary Time

The Nicene Creed

Baptism, Forgiveness, Resurrection, and World without End

We believe in one baptism for the remission of sins; we look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life in the world to come.  Amen.

We come to both the end of the Creed and the end of the Church Year.  Tomorrow marks the “First Sunday in Advent” and the season of waiting and expectation for our Lord’s return.  But until then…

“We believe in one baptism for the remission of sins.”  Once again I tread on ground where our several communions differ, and it is a great sorrow.  But I cannot agree that a sacrament, no matter how central to the Christian faith and the Church of Jesus Christ, remits sins in and of itself.  Such a view smacks more of magic than of reality.  Our sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ of which baptism is an indispensible sign.  In other words, if some churches infuse baptism with too much significance, many evangelical churches treat it with too little, as if it were an option or something only done out of obedience.  I do not treat baptism as “only” a sign but as a powerful symbol and even a means of grace which it ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

“We look forward to the resurrection of the dead.”  I have treated the resurrection in many places in these devotions.  Suffice it to say that the resurrection of the human body at the end of time is a nonnegotiable teaching of the Christian faith.  It matters not that it is impossible in man’s estimation; in short, the One who made us is the One who can put us back together.  God made us embodied souls and that is the way we shall be in the afterlife—either glorious and fit for heaven or wretched and fit for damnation.  We are the hybrids of the universe—soul and body—and if Christ is your Savior, he has saved you one and all.  So rejoice that one day your tired body will slough off its infirmities and put on incorruption and immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53-55). 

“And the life in the world to come.”  And this is the promise that no one can resist, or no one should resist.  God’s final word to His people is “life.”  And in that one word is bound up all joy, peace, felicity, anything a fully redeemed soul could ever want.  And it will be such a life—full of both energy and complacency, fully alive and fully at rest.  All needs will be met—no tears, crying, or pain.  And best of all, what the ancients and medievals called, “the vision of God,” what the Psalmist so longed for, “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” (27:4)—this is heaven itself to the one who has completely and totally fallen in love with God, with the one who has discovered that God has made him for Himself and that his heart can only rest in Him.  Streets of gold, jeweled gates—it all means nothing without Him.  And anything means everything because of Him.

“Amen.”  So be it; every bit of it.

It is my prayer that we will all be able to let this vision shape our lives, thoughts, words, and actions.  Nothing purifies like the vision of God; hence, our Lord said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: