A couple of days ago, Ghanaians went to the polls to elect a president and 275 parliamentarians. We dedicated our last study session to pray for a smooth and peaceful election. As we thank God for the generally peaceful, transparent and credible elections, we entrust our future as a country to God, that he may continue to guide and sustain us to achieve our developmental goals and continue to be a shining star of democracy in Africa and the world at large.
We shall now continue our search for truth through our studies.
For sometime now, we have tried to look at some critical questions surrounding the Sacrament of Baptism. We have discussed what baptism is, its etymology, why infant baptism and finally baptism by immersion, pouring or sprinkling. Let us briefly consider some effects of baptism.
Effects of Baptism on the Baptized
1. By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. (CCC 1263)
2. Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. (CCC
3. Baptism makes us members the body of Christ. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” (CCC 1267)
4. Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church’s leaders, holding them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church. (CCC 1269)
5. “Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church” and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God. (CCC 1270)
6. Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.” (CCC 1271)
7. Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, *Baptism cannot be repeated.* (CCC 1272)
~ Since baptism cleanses us of our sins but cannot be repeated, what happens when we sin after baptism?
~ What about someone baptized in another church who now wishes to become a Catholic?
~ And the person who, for whatever reason, cannot remember if he/she was baptized or not?
Let’s meet next Monday…
God bless you.
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