Today's Foundations Devotional: Baptism in the sea
By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing
through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
Let us now turn to the baptism in the sea.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left (Ex. 14:21-22).
Side by side with this account in Exodus, we should also read a New Testament comment on the event.
By faith they [that is, Israel] passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned (Heb. 11:29).
In the light of these passages we can now list the main facts revealed about the passing of Israel through the Red Sea and see how perfectly each of them applies to Christian baptism in water.
1. The passing of Israel through the Red Sea was made possible only through a supernatural provision of God’s power.
2. The Israelites could avail themselves of this provision only by their faith. The waters were first opened and then closed by an act of faith on the part of Moses, and Israel as a whole was able to pass through only by faith.
3. The Egyptians, attempting to do the same thing, but without faith, were not saved but destroyed.
4. Israel went down into the waters, passed through the waters and came up again out of the waters.
5. By passing through the waters, Israel was finally separated from Egypt and from the last threat of Egypt’s dominion over them.
6. Israel came up out of the waters to follow a new leader, to live by new laws and to march to a new destination.
Let us now see how perfectly each of these facts corresponds to Christian baptism in water and what this experience means for God’s people in this dispensation.
1. Christian baptism in water has been made possible for the believer only through the death and supernatural resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2. Christian baptism is effectual only through personal faith on the part of the believer: “he who believes and is baptised will be saved.”
3. Those who observe this ordinance without personal faith are like the Egyptians entering the Red Sea: Their act does not save them; it destroys them.
4. In every case where baptism in water is described in the New Testament, the person being baptised went down into the water, passed through the water and came up out of the water again.
5. Baptism in water is intended by God to separate the believer from the world and from the continuing dominion of the world over him.
6. After baptism, the believer is directed by God into a new kind of life with a new leader, new laws and a new destination. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).
Heavenly Father, what a wonderful image You have provided with
baptism, which separates us from the world in which slavery to sin
reigned over us, but which now - through the water of baptism - had to
let us go so that we, as new people can live to Your honour! Amen.