December 31

Ephesians 1:8-14

“In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;” vs. 13

Even though we have been destined in Christ to live holy and blameless lives in love, there comes a time, sometimes as children, perhaps as adults, when we have the opportunity to affirm that destiny. The writer to the Ephesians describes that moment as a time when believers were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit. Through the years the church has developed rituals in which such sealings could be acted out. For many that ritual has been baptism, a service of washing with water and the laying on of hands. In one form of that liturgy the officiant says, “You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.” Of course this verse from Ephesians fits best with what is called “believer’s baptism,” a ritual intended for adults who have already come to faith. But even when the Church practiced infant baptism, individuals could affirm their faith in another ritual called confirmation or affirmation of baptism. The official laid on hands and asked God to stir up the Holy Spirit, confirm faith, and guide life. While salvation is always a gift of God and not dependent on either of these rituals, it’s always good to have the opportunity to give voice to faith and celebrate the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Thought for the Day: What do I remember of my baptism/confirmation?

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