Analyse how Christian religious practices influence the lives of adherents. In your answer, refer to baptism. “Christianity has developed into a highly ritual-filled tradition and many of its significant practices are acts of public worship associated with the sacraments.” – Living Religion, 4th edition pg. 266. Ever since its inception, Christianity has been epitomised by a range of religious practices that explore the sacred beliefs that have been upheld and spread around the world. These practices thus continue to bear a significant influence over the lives of adherents and how they seek to express their faith in Christianity. One such religious practice is that of baptism which functions as a significant milestone in the life of any Christian and entails aspects of Christianity that are explored throughout the daily life of the adherent. Therefore, in this response, the Christian religious practice of baptism will be explored in regards to its significance, the basic Christian beliefs it explores as well as the importance of baptism for the individual and the community. Through an analysis of one of the many sacraments in Christianity, one will be able to estimate the large influence Christian religious practices have on the lives of adherents. Baptism is an extensively significant religious practice within the Christian faith which is why it continues to have an unrelenting influence on the life of an adherent. Mark 16:16 quotes: “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Essentially, baptism symbolises a break with the old sinful way of life and demonstrates a full commitment and determination to begin a new way of life obeying God and fulfilling His perfect Will. One who is baptised can never go back to the old way, or else he stands in jeopardy of losing out on eternal life and consequently being consumed in the lake of fire. The significance of baptism within Christianity is evident from the features of the ceremony and the history of the tradition, but especially from the early scriptural accounts. According to John’s Gospel, Jesus announced the need for a spiritual rebirth through ‘water and the Spirit.’ The Christian Scriptures inform adherents that baptism is significant for numerous reasons. Firstly, it is necessary for salvation and must be preceded by faith: “Simon himself believed and was baptised. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw,” (Acts 8:13) and repentance: “Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:38).
Baptism is also significant as it is to be administered in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and thus allows believers to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom 6:4), to form part of the Body of Christ: “For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink,” (1 Cor 12:13), and to be cleansed of their sins: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:11). The baptism of Jesus conferred the Holy Spirit: “For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:5) and as Matthew 3:11 indicates, John fully expected that his baptism was temporary and would be superseded by one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire—Jesus himself. Upon such true repentance and faith, a person is baptised by a representative of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God, making it an essentially significant Christian...
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