Baptism and the Beginning of the Gospel

It’s appropriate that “the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1) is the story of Jesus’ baptism by John recorded in Mark 1:2-11.

Baptism is a beginning, not an end.

In Baptism and the Christian Life, I wrote:

Sometimes the Christian story is told like this: “I was sinner. I didn’t listen to God and I kept on sinning. I sinned like this and I sinned like that. Then I got saved and was baptized so I’ll go to heaven someday. The end.”

The version of the Christian life envisioned in the biblical image of baptism, however, is very different. It goes more like this: “I was a sinner, but God invited me to come to him anyway. So I got baptized. Then I began to live as a member of his family, the church. Then I started to learn more about what my faith means. Then I started to serve him. Then I started to share his love with others. I had set backs, but God has stayed beside me and kept me growing as a Christian. As long as I’m breathing, there will be no end to this story. And when I stop breathing, well that’s just the start of the next chapter.”

Baptism marks the beginning of one’s life as a Christian disciple, not just the end of one’s journey to become a Christian believer.

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