By Michelle Pavia
Death to the “old life” and birth to the “new life” was the basis for celebration for many members of Freedom in Christ Ministries on Sunday, August 31st at Colt State Park in Bristol, RI. Thirty-one believers, ranging in age from 9 to 75 years old, partook with the guidance of Evangelist Scott Grande and Deacon Anthony Cole. In the water and out of the water each believer went, as they made a personal proclamation of faith in Jesus Christ, in the midst of onlookers of all ages. A few children who were at the beach had their eyes locked on us. One has to wonder what they saw. Were their souls touched in a special way? Are they already a part of the Bride of Christ?
Per Jewish custom, before a bride in Ancient Israel married her bridegroom, she would participate in the Mikvah, a ritual purification of being cleansed in a pool of living water (usually rain water, but oceans and lakes, are considered living water, as well). Today, all who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior make up the Bride of Christ. As His Bride, we are cleansed spiritually by the baptism of His Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. In addition, the ritual of water baptism is commanded in God’s Word. As Jesus said in Mat 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” However, the Bible is clear that a person is saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Eph 2:8-9, Joh 3:16, 5:24), and water baptism remains symbolic in nature.
This water baptism held significant spiritual meaning for the many who participated. Below are the words of different individuals reflecting on their experience:
“For me, it was more about the gathering itself in the Spirit of proclaiming our faith and not for boasting, but rather as a family with true intentions of caring more for each other than the world around us…complete peace and freedom. Witnessing others going through the waters and their joy was indeed special and a time of thanks to Our Lord for being at that spot with people with whom He blessed us.”
Another believer shared, “…to see the joy in the faces of believers, openly showing their love for their
Bridegroom and Savior, was priceless.”
And another shared, “I woke up the next morning and I knew without a doubt I was a new creature in
Christ. I knew this, for the Bible states this, but now the words marry up to how I am feeling. I felt pure,
empowered and mostly free. The world didn’t have any hold on me. The baptism even made me look at
my life and my relationships differently. No need to overthink anything. Keep my eyes on Him and His
will is completed.”
Each believer had the opportunity to identify with Christ’s death and resurrection in their own personal way, reflecting on passages such as Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” and Rom 6:4-5, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised form the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly be united with Him in His resurrection.” What greater reason to celebrate!
Following the water baptism, congregation members, family and friends joined together to “break bread,” and have some fun, celebrating the life He has given us, eternal life that we can begin living NOW!
For additional information please visit their website at freedom-in-christ.org