John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. [Luke 3:3 NLT]
Baptism. Is there a more controversial word in religious circles? Immersion. Pouring. Sprinkling. Sacrament. All polarizing words that are sometimes connected to the word and idea of baptism. Interesting that the focus in this verse is not on how people should be baptised but why they should be baptised.
I sometimes think of this way. The outer baptism should be the result of an inner baptism. Not the opposite. Yet in reality people are sometimes baptised externally who have had no inner baptism. The issue is spiritual. Not physical. People should be baptized as an evidence of an internal transformation.
When this verse speaks of baptism as a way "to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven", it is speaking of the inner transformation that caused these to turn to God in repentance. These who came to John had already been forgiven. Baptism was an evidence of it.
Dear Lord. Help me to remember my baptism. Show me ways that I can testify to the inner baptism.
... this devotion is part of a series about John the Baptist.