Where do we get the oft-repeated notion that “at baptism we contact the blood of Christ”?
Where does that come from in scripture?
We can go to 1 John, where the passages about water and blood are cryptic at best and the connection to baptism tenuous at most. I think there might be a connection, but it is not explicit – and the concept there is that they are two out of three different things that testify; not one that connects you to another.
If we are willing to sew two unrelated passages together and form such a notion, I guess we could go to 1 Peter 3:21 and lap-stitch it to Romans 5:9 and say the magic words quid pro quo. But I am left unsatisfied with that. (Or with any concatenation of scriptures which are not generally aimed in the same direction – whether it’s Romans 6:3 with John 19:34 or any other patchwork quilt of scriptural scraps and the thread of human logic.)
Lots of things save us, including baptism. Can we embroider any of them in the same way and say that through any of them we contact the blood of Christ? As if it were exclusively through any one of them that we do?
I think I could make a better case for the notion that we contact the blood of Christ when we commune together at His table. After all, that’s what the cup contains. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)
Don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying that the phrase “at baptism we contact the blood of Christ” is in error or ignobly born or repeated in an intentionally misleading way.
I’m saying that I simply don’t find that notion expressed in scripture.
I’m saying that we often repeat it as if baptism were the only way in which we contact the blood of Christ – because we don’t say that about any other act of penitence or obedience or Christ-imitation – and that, therefore, the reason for saying it while excluding anything else is suspect.
I’m saying that there is more to a life that seeks salvation than simply being immersed, or confessing Christ, or repenting, or even believing for just that one moment after an invitational hymn is sung. Baptism is not just the means to the end of salvation, but to the beginning of it. Baptism is an incredible gift, through which we as believers receive many others.
It is undeniable that His blood and our salvation are inextricably knotted.
When, and where, and how He applies it to cleanse us is not a matter of great concern to me. I trust Him. He will do what is right by each of us who live a life of faith in Him – at His own time, at His own place, in His own way.
That kind of life involves constantly confessing Him, repeatedly repenting, boldly believing, and immutably immersing ourselves in His way of living.
I find that throughout scripture.