Orthodoxy and Baptism

It is paradise, not sin, that reveals the true nature of man; it is to paradise and to his true nature, to his primordial vestment of glory, that man returns in Baptism. – Alexander Schmemann

The true nature of man is not that of darkness but that of light. Man and woman were created in the image of God and were through His nature, good. This state of being is what we begin to grow into after we are baptized and confirmed into the faith. Christ, as St. Paul says in Romans, is the new Adam! We begin to take on Christ, as Paul says, through this sacramental act of baptism. We begin the healing process through this “hospital” – the Church, so that we may become more and more the natural man, thus living a natural life – not natural in the strict biological sense, but natural in the original sense, in the sense of God’s image, the image of what Paul calls the heavenly man (1 Cor. 15:49).

We are now ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20, 21). We now live out Christ’s righteousness as Christ himself, the living body of Christ, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our spiritual journey of salvation becomes intertwined with our brethren – be it one or many of them in our life – so that we may become reconciled with Christ, as St. Paul commands us. We become a community of salvation. We are careful not to become “unevenly yoked” (2 Cor. 6:16) with unbelievers so that our reconciliation with Christ can manifest itself completely and consistently. We are in essence, bringing back the Garden of Eden!

The Gospel involves the unification and drawing of God’s people through the redemptive act of sharing the Covenant blessings of a regained paradise (Ezekiel 36:35). In other words, life itself and the pursuit of the Gospel is not just a personal journey, it is a corporate journey. This is why we worship God in an ecclesiastical context on Sunday mornings; to demonstrate to God that we are His people, united in faith (Ephesians 4:5), and built up as a holy temple (Ephesians 2:21) within a Sacramental context: taking actual matter and redeeming it for Christ; doing as the Lord’s Prayer states, “on earth as it is in heaven.”