REALITY OR CEREMONY

According to the twentieth amendment to The Constitution of the United States of America, “The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January…”  Since there is a constitutional mandate for an oath of office for new or reelected presidents, that takes place at that same time.

Why then, were there all of the parades, “religious services,” ceremonies, and a swearing in of our current president on the 21st of January.  The reason is that the twentieth fell on a Sunday.  As has previously been done, the ceremonial swearing in was pushed back a day.

So, in reality our president started his second term one day before the ceremonial swearing in.  He was already our president on one day, but that fact was “made public” on another.

It seems to me that there might be a religious application of all of this.  I’m thinking especially about the subject of baptism.

A great number of people separate the “reality” of salvation with what they see as the “ceremony” of baptism. In other words, according to them, a person is saved before he or she is baptized.

According to this teaching, baptism is important, but it is not actually a part of the process of salvation.  It may be, according to those who advocate this position, “an outward sign of an inward experience.”  A person may need to be baptized “to follow the example of Jesus.”  Baptism may be “a public declaration of one’s commitment to the Lord.”

Baptism may be a lot of things to a lot of people, but they would confidently affirm that baptism has nothing to do with whether a person is or is not saved.  The salvation experience prior to, and separate from, baptism.

The only problem with that line of reasoning is that it contradicts the plain teaching of the Bible.  Please consider the following:

  • “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17, KJV).
  • “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4, KJV).
  • “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27, KJV).
  • “…’Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost’’’ (Acts 2:38, KJV).

Our constitution says nothing about all of the ceremony that has come to defining of a president’s new term.  A man or woman can be our president with or without the ceremony.

The Bible knows nothing about a person becoming a Christian before or without baptism.

–Jim Faughn