I was listening to a John Piper message the other day on Christian Hedonism, which says God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him. And he was defining what saving faith is. He said it’s this turning from darkness to light. And it’s important to know: it’s not like you turn to the Light and then see the Light as boring and bland and blah. There is this very supernatural change that takes place where your heart is drawn to see Christ as all-satisfying. He uses this phrase I’ve heard him say over and over again: “seeing and savoring Christ.”
And it got me thinking of Baptism in general and my 10 year old child. He watched several baptisms take place at our church this past Sunday. I asked him what he thought on the way home, and without prompting, he said he wanted to get baptized. I was delighted but also skeptical, mainly thinking of my own faith journey. I pressed him with some questions. He said he wanted Christ to be his Lord and Savior, and seemed to have a loose understanding of things. And yet what I was trying to get him to understand was essentially what Piper captures in that phrase: “seeing and savoring Christ.”
Is that an inward reality or is this just a mere religious next step?
Is this “seeing and savoring Christ” what happens when one is saved or is it something less? While it certainly comes in degrees, I think saving faith is certainly nothing less than a heart that is captivated by Christ. A baby Christians still craves the milk of the Word just as much as an adult. If there isn’t this craving element noted, and say only the fear of missing out or the fear of hell or of disappointing mommy and daddy, than I think we should be suspect of whether it’s a real saving faith that has taken place. And therefore getting baptized should be on hold.
It’s one thing to say you believe in Jesus, even nodding yes to him as being your Lord and Savior. But it’s another to say you see Christ as all-satisfying. That’s why I love what Piper says here: That you see and savor Christ. That there’s this inner supernatural reality of a heart turned to Christ.
If this inner reality – this inner craving of Christ – hasn’t taken place, then I’m not convinced the outward act of baptism should be entertained. Baptism is an outward demonstration that you have died with Christ and have risen with Him, but not risen to just go off and find Jesus bland and boring. But risen and united to Christ, seeing him as all satisfying and satiating. To that person, you don’t have to prompt why he/she wants to get baptized. He wants to because he wants to be identified with Christ at the deepest and most profound level.
I don’t wish to get drawn into the baptism debate. And this isn’t meant to be a critique on anyone who got baptized reading this. I love every step that celebrates what Christ has done. This is just my personal thoughts and inclinations. I have friends and admired pastors on both sides of the aisle. I realize it’s not so easy a thing to nail down. It’s one of those agree to disagree kind of things. But I do think it’s something that shouldn’t be rushed into by any stretch. I think it could hurt the individual more than anything and even the body of Christ at large. I’m content to wait and see if my son truly has the marks of this both seeing a savoring Christ, however immature it might look..