The Benefits of Baptism – By Father Gabriel Alkass
Today we are celebrating the epiphany, the baptism of the Lord. And repentance and confession lead to the treasures of God.
The word Epiphany means the appearance of the Holy Trinity. And so, the appearance was as follows: First of all, seeing the Lord Jesus, who has no sins standing in the river Jordan for what reason? The repentance of baptism.
“This is my beloved son,” says the Lord, and the Holy Spirit descends to form the Trinity, the father, son, and Holy Spirit.
Why are the Holy Spirit and the water involved? We have to go to the beginning, even before the creation of Adam and Eve. Genesis 1:2, says, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” – so the Holy Spirit was there with the water.
These two brought all life to our planet.
Another great thing happens during Joshua’s time. The Lord told him to take his people to cross the river Jordan from the desert side (of sin) to the promised land, which symbolizes the righteous land. In Joshua 3:13, “And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.” And then the Lord and the water were together.
As you see, my beloved, these are two pieces of evidence that the water and the Holy Spirit are essential elements. As Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
But I also need to say that the baptism of Jesus is not the same we receive in the baptismal font here in church. Jesus is about repentance of confession as part of the seven sacraments, but our baptism is by God.
Here are four benefits of baptism:
- In Acts 22:16, there was a discussion between Ananias said to Saul, “Why, now are you waiting, arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.”
- In Romans 6:3, “Do you not know that as many of us were baptized into Christ, Jesus was baptized into His death.” So, each of us dies to the Lord in the form of our new person, and we come out as a new creation. This is the spiritual church womb for your second birth to become a child of God. How beautiful is that?
- Galatians 3:27 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” That means the Lord clothed us with righteousness, holiness, and purity.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19 says “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
To understand this beautiful feast, we need to understand and participate in this event. The Epiphany feast gives us the full picture of Jesus. I mean He is the righteous man and perfect Holy Man. Or God in the flesh in the river Jordan standing as a sinner, and yet is the forgiver of sins.
For what reason did He do that? The person must repent first and then receive the other sacraments. At the beginning of Christianity, repentance and confession were first.
But how can we benefit from these in our Christian life today? But we are still sinning with our free will, so what is the solution? Follow His footsteps and get into repentance and sacraments as He did. If you do that today, that will get you to the treasures of God.
And people who get into repentance become something else. On fire with the blessings, they become real life to the world and real souls to the world.
Learn more from Father Gabriel’s Epiphany sermon video here.
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January 28, 2024
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