A couple of years ago, I was in Egypt. When I was in Egypt, I visited several Coptic churches and cathedrals. Although I do not agree with all the aspects of their tradition and doctrines, I found something rather interesting. Instead of having a baptistry in front of the church, close to the pulpit like many traditional churches, there was a baptistry in the entrance of the church. As was explained, this was because they believed that someone can only be part of the church after being baptized. Although the Bible teaches that someone has to be baptized after they repented and believe in God, I found this rather interesting and inspiring. I had to think about this after I was memorizing the following Bible passage:
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. ~ Romans 7,4 ~
Due to a Bible reading plan, I was inspired to memorize a Bible verse a day. I applied this by memorizing at least one verse from my daily Bible reading. I choose to memorize only one inspiring and central verse per chapter. Last week, I came across Romans 7 and when I read verse 4 as above (in Dutch), it inspired me because it contains a really strong statement. It actually says that when someone is baptized, the law has nothing to say about that person anymore. And also, that this person now belongs to Jesus Christ and has to live for God’s glory.
What does this has to do with baptistries in Coptic churches? Well, dying with Christ and belonging to Christ is the result of Baptism. When someone goes under water, that person is baptized in Jesus, and therefore his old life (which is subject to the law) dies with Christ on the Cross. When that person gets out of the water, this person starts a new free life in Christ and becomes a child of God. This means also that this person belongs to Jesus after baptism. Since anyone who belongs to Jesus is part of the body of Christ on earth (actually, all these people together are the Church), the idea that someone can only be part of the Church after baptism is very good. Only, the church is not a building, but the Church is the body of Christ, the fellowship of all who believe in the Name of Jesus together. See also these Bible passages below:
We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. ~ Romans 6,2-4 ~
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. ~ John 1,12-13 ~
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. ~ Ephesians 2,19-21 ~
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2,4-5 ~
I hope this post inspired you and/or challenged you in your life as a follower of Jesus. If you are not a follower of Jesus (yet) and have questions about following Jesus, feel free to contact us. Or about baptism or anything related, we will be ready to answer your questions or help you the best we can.
God bless you,
Founder of who-is-jesus-really.com