Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015 “God’s Glue”

“Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5)

Good Morning Everyone! Praise be to God Who makes all things new!

When I was a seminary student, one of the most compelling and influential professors I ever had was the late John Gerstner. So articulate and learned was he that it was once said of him, “That man could sell sweat to a ditch digger.” I remember one story that was told regarding a request that had been made of him by a couple who wanted him to baptize their child. They wanted him to use a white rose to anoint the child with the water from the baptismal font. When he asked them why they were making such a request, their reply was, “to signify the purity of the child.” His response to this unusual request was, “If the child is pure, then why baptize him at all?”  While it is true that this child had committed no sin, it is also true that we are born sinners, as David noted in Psalm 51. Baptism is an acknowledgement of that reality…a symbol of death and resurrection itself, that is made possible because of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. The apostle Paul understood this sin nature to be a reality when he wrote, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

The great american playwright Eugene O”Neill once wrote,

“Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is the glue.” 

Dr. Gerstner taught the parents of that precious child an important lesson that day. Though his words may have sounded harsh and judgmental, especially as one gazes upon the sweet face of a newborn child, he was right in conveying to these parents the gravity of what they were requesting. I am sure he was glad to baptize the child, but not in the manner requested by the parents. They needed a new perspective on baptism and its significance if they were going to fulfill the vows they intended to make on behalf of the child, and Dr. Gerstner explained it to them. The focus of baptism is not on our innocence, but on our mortality, our sinfulness. It reminds us of death, resurrection, and of God’s amazing grace that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Eugene O’Neill was right. We are born broken and in need of mending, and the glue that restores us is the grace of God. Let’s pray!

Your love for me astounds me, O Lord, sinful man that I am. Your grace mends me and your righteousness covers me, so much so that I am regarded as righteous as I am cleansed by your great sacrifice on Calvary’s cross. Glory be to you, my Lord and my God. Amen!



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