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Baptism and Repentance and Regenration

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…” (1 Peter 1:22-23). The Lord's suffering and death is incorruptible and abides forever, and is the foundation of our baptism through which we are born again (see Jn 3:1–6; Rom 6:3–5).” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:23)

“Our union with Christ is precisely in our brokenness and shame – and we fear to go there. We pity those who are broken and work hard (and even pretend) not to be among their number. The gospel of gifts and talents unwittingly underwrites the social/economic agenda of the culture in which it dwells. The mythology of success (and the stigma of failure) drives consumerism and laissez faire vocationalism. And the brokenness of our lives is experienced as life among the losers. In truth, everyone always stands on the edge of the loser’s abyss. The gospel of the weak and the sinner, however, is consistently the gospel presented in the New Testament. We enter the Church through Holy Baptism, in which we engage in repentance. True repentance is the acknowledgement of weakness and sin, not the promise to do better. Repentance does not mark the beginning of our success, but the embracing of our failure.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Irenaeus seldom writes of baptism as being for the remission of sins. Remission of sins, or a purificatory washing, would still leave man ‘in Adam’. For Irenaeus, the primary content of baptism is the ‘regeneration unto God’ which accomplishes man’s adoption as a son of God. . . . Irenaeus defines baptism as: ‘the seal of eternal life and rebirth unto God, that we may no longer be sons of mortal men, but of the eternal and everlasting God’ (Dem. 3). Baptism is a ‘regeneration unto God’ which accomplishes adoption as sons of God. It is a regeneration, affected by the new generation of Christ from the Virgin, which liberates man from the ‘generation of death’. Yet, this regeneration itself is but a prelude to the ‘second generation’ of the human race at the resurrection after their dissolution into the earth.” (Fr. John Behr, St. Irenaeus)

“…our baptism signifies more than a promise of some unknown existence in some undetermined future. Our baptism plants the seed of Christ’s resurrected life in us, a New Life that we are to live here and now. Our calling while here on earth is to let this seed grow day by day in the power of the Spirit. Then when we depart from this world, this life given in baptism will finally reach maturity in the resurrection of our mortal bodies to everlasting life.” (Fr. Basil)

“In the age to come, the life-giving Spirit will renew and re-create the whole world which will arise like a phoenix from the ashes of God’s consuming fire. The Spirit will create new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Like our new resurrection bodies, this new world, though sown in weakness, will be raised in power. Though sown in dishonor, it will be raised in glory, and will abide eternally in deathless immortality (2 Peter 3:12-13, compare 1 Corinthians 15:43). This is the Kingdom of God, of coming of which we pray for every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer and say, “Thy Kingdom come.” That is why Christ referred to the world to come as “the regeneration” (Greek παλιγγενεσία/ paliggenesia) in Matthew 19:28—in the age to come the entire cosmos will be born again and will rise to a new and immortal life. What happens to us in baptism is that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we begin to partake of this regenerative power even now in this age.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“Why, then, does the God-man invert our expectations by seeking John’s baptism of repentance? Why does He ritually unite His sinless humanity with our corrupt humanity? Why subject His Light to our darkness and sin? Saint John, filled with the Holy Spirit, perceives this contradiction, and he “tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’” (Mt 3:14). Christ understands that the humanity He is saving must be fully assumed. He is not repenting in baptism, but rather uniting His all-pure Self to our corrupt nature in order to restore us to Himself. His pure humanity acts as a bridge from God’s holiness to our sinfulness. As Saint Paul explains: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).” (Dynamis 1/6/2020)

“Jesus Himself does not need baptism. In being baptized, our Lord accomplished several things: (1) He affirmed John's ministry; (2) He was revealed by the Father and the Holy Spirit to be the Christ, God's beloved Son; (3) He identified with His people by descending into the waters with them; (4) He prefigured His own death, giving baptism its ultimate meaning; (5) He entered the waters, sanctifying the water itself; (6) He fulfilled the many types given in the OT, as when Moses led the people from bondage through the Red Sea (Ex 14) and when the ark of the covenant was carried into the Jordan so the people could enter the Promised Land (Jos 3; 4); and (7) He opened heaven to a world separated from God through sin.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 3:21)

“It is vital to the Christian belief in salvation from sin and death that the Father and Holy Spirit were truly present at Jesus’s own baptism and, henceforth, every baptism the church performs…baptism is not merely a sacrament of repentance and cleansing; it is also a sacrament of illumination, liberation, love, and communion.” (Vigen Guroian)

“Therefore, what unites us in Christ is not a joint hearing of the Gospel. It is not a communal baptism. It is not the same gifts of the Spirit. But what joins us together in Christ is the Holy Spirit, who is dispersed among us. Thus, the hearing of faith, the New Life of baptism, and the spiritual gifts of the Spirit all come from “one and the same Spirit who works in these things” (1 Corinthians 12:11 ).” (Fr. Basil)

“Eschatology” is both “future” and “present.” In the life of the Church, the Kingdom of God is present, yet its fulfillment is still to come. We have died with Christ and emerged from the baptismal waters in “newness of life”; yet the pathway ahead requires ascetic struggle, continual repentance and gestures of self-giving love, in the image of Christ Himself…Just as we were born once from our human parents, and inherited both our own traits, and the world that we live in from their generation, so also are we born again through Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and receive an inheritance in Christ of His likeness, and the world to come.” (Fr. John Breck, Fr. Stephen De Young)

“When the Lord entered the waters of the Jordan, He sanctified every drop of water on the face of the earth. Thus water is no longer a mere object flowing out of the tap to be either used or abused. Rather, water is now a medium for cleansing the heart, blessing the soul, and healing infirmities, for every drop has touched the sacred flesh of the Lord Christ! In being baptized, the Lord Jesus gave us not only an example to follow – to be baptized ourselves…Having united ourselves to Christ at baptism, we are united to the Lord’s basic purpose. Christ requires each of us to accept this call.” (Dynamis 1/4/2019, 9/17/2014)

“Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life…Constant repentance renews our baptism as we grow in our relationship with God.” (Saint John Climacus, Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 6:10)

"However, just as Jesus was baptized at the very beginning of His public mission, so is our baptism just the beginning. I did, indeed, receive the gift of life in the Holy Spirit, as well as the gift of His “fire,” like a spark, in my heart, at baptism. But this “fire,” which is often but a spark, needs to be constantly tended to and rekindled when necessary. A daily “re-focusing,” -that is, daily “repentance,” does this, when I take a bit of time for it, in prayer, contemplation, and self-examination. Let me remember this gift of Spirit, and fire, which I carry around in my heart, so that I tend to it on a daily basis." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

"Baptized Christians have a responsibility to grow in faith, a calling to theosis which is the process of becoming like Christ." (Father Spyridon Baily)

“…salvation in Christ includes...a passage from death to life, from darkness to light..., through repentance, faith, and baptism...a process of spiritual growth and maturation ...through ongoing repentance, faith, and communion...” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:16)

“Baptism and repentance have been linked from the beginning. In both Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:5 it says that people coming to John the Baptist were being baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins…Paul said John baptized with a baptism of repentance (Acts 19:4)…Baptism initiates Christian life. We continue it though Holy Communion and repentance.” (Sacramental Living)

“After Jesus’ Baptism, He is driven into the desert. Here He fasts, He prays, He asks God to let Him serve Him faithfully, to do His will, to surrender His Life to God’s purposes and to the mission to which God has called Him. And after forty days – after all this surrender to God – He is tempted, He is challenged, He is tested. It seems that whenever we get close to God, the Devil is always at hand. Do you really mean what you say? Do you really put God first?” (Father John Zeyack)

“Christ began His mission preaching repentance. When He was baptized by John, people were coming to John to be baptized and confessing their sins. Baptism, the beginning of our Christian life, and confession (repentance), the continuation our Christian lives go hand and hand. Our Christian lives should be lived in a state of joyful repentance.” (Sacramental Living DVD/CD #1)

“…the just One who serves many well” (Is 53:11), Christ reveals through His life and teaching the high calling of servanthood. Christ Jesus illumines service and transforms serving. He raises service from a common activity and establishes it as a blessed, divine attitude of heart!...we are baptized into Christ in order to share His cup of service.” (Dynamis 8/7/2014)

“…the Lord’s call is not restricted to the clergy, or to missionaries and laypeople with specific “religious” assignments or positions. Having united ourselves to Christ at baptism, we are united to the Lord’s basic purpose. Christ requires each of us to accept this call.” (Dynamis 9/17/2014)

“The word theophany means “appearance of God.” We celebrate the Lord God’s baptism as a theophany, because on that occasion the three Persons of the Trinity were at last disclosed by name.” (Dynamis 1/6/2015)

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