Transformed by Conversion and the Grace of Baptism



Transformed by Conversion and the Grace of Baptism

The Advent season reminds us of God’s unquenched thirst for humankind’s salvation from the fall of Adam until now. God is determined for humankind to reflect his divine nature and real presence in Christ Jesus. Through conversion, conciliation and baptism, God is rehabilitating and redirecting his wayward children towards the kingdom (Is.1:1-9). Isaiah and John the Baptist are particularly strong in their call to conversion in anticipation of the Lord’s coming. Relationship with God, stewardship and conversion for Isaiah and John the Baptist are synonymous. If a person belongs to God and to Christ that person must reflect the nature and qualities of Christ. Righteousness, justice, peace and a strong sense of morality must be his or her aim.

John the Baptist held the Sacrament of Baptism in very high esteem. He reminded his audience: neither the Baptism of Water nor the Baptism of the Holy Spirit were washrags for the removal of physical dirt. John placed a strong emphasis on the innermost renewal of the whole person (Eph.4:23-24). In other words, anyone who approaches the font of baptism must condition himself/herself to become a living instrument of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to live a life of integrity and truth like Christ Jesus (Is.11:1-10).

We must, like Christ be capable of reproducing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we must cultivate the mind of Christ in us. Why? Because it is through our Christian consciousness and stewardship justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails (Ps.71:7). Conversion and Baptism must transform us into another Christ.

John the Baptist’s opined that Christ came into this world to transform our whole being into the true image and likeness of his divine being. Put differently, Christ came to free us from sin and death and to make us the divine sons and daughters of his Father. From henceforth the converted and the baptised live only for righteousness, justice and peace. They become a strong moral presence and authority in the world. God always intended us to be divine beings, made in the image and likeness of himself (Gen.1:27; Ps.8:5; Ps.82:6; Jn.10:34). This is what we hope to achieve when we are baptised into Christ – to become a divine presence in Christ to renew the world.

Thus in Baptism, God cleanses us from sins, anoints us with the Holy Spirit, and makes us indestructible members of the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church). Thus, we become a living presence of God and of the kingdom on earth. Therefore, as Paul suggest in Romans 15:4-9, we must become Christ for one another. We must become symbols of righteousness, justice, peace and a moral institution for others.

Thus, integrity, conversion and baptism into Christ become synonymous for us who await the second coming of Christ. God will not rest until our integrity shines like the sun (Is.62:1). Why? Because where there is no integrity, there can be no justice, no peace, and no moral consciousness. What will be our Advent resolution be as of today? Let us all remember a true conversion and a deep understanding of our Christian baptism must reform our historical, social, political, economic and religious consciousness. We must become instruments of justice and peace like Christ.

O God, revolutionize my inner being. Transform my whole person until I can reflect all the graces I received in baptism and my ongoing conversion.

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