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Sealed as Christ's Own

by David G. Duggan ©
November 26, 2023

One of the things that the internet has killed off is sealed documents. Years ago, I was a notary public and would attest that a person with proper identification had come before me and sworn to the veracity of the document placed between us, and then have him sign it. I would then sign my own name and affix a crimped seal on the page. Now we simply e-sign a document on a screen or at best use our fingertip to trace what dimly passes as a pen-and-ink signature. How this can prevent fraudulent documents and false representation utterly escapes me.

In the baptismal service, the minister dips his hand in water, then with his thumb marks the candidate's forehead with the sign of the cross, saying "I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" (or Spirit if you prefer). Depending on the minister and the church, the minister may take some scented oil, called the oil of chrism, and again tracing the sign of the cross says, "You are sealed as Christ's own forever."

The water of baptism of course dries off (if it isn't blotted), and the oil of chrism doesn't survive the next bath or shower. How then to tell whether a person has been baptized; has renounced the world, the flesh, and the devil; and has promised to follow Christ as his Savior and Lord? No external markings, no contemporaneous professions, perhaps no sealed document to attest to the new Christian's faith.

Jesus wasn't much on the sealed documents of His faith. The scroll of Isaiah, unrolled in the Galilean temple (Luke 4:16-20), was "fulfilled" in the assembly's hearing. At least twice Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Mark 3: 1-6; Luke 6:6-7; Luke 13: 10-17). His death on a cross defied the curse the Psalmist prescribed for those who die on a tree (Psalm 22: 6-7; Deut. 21:23; Gal. 3: 13).

We who are baptized are of course Christ's documents. We are the ones who attest to His saving grace. We are the ones who swear that He is Lord. We are the ones who witness His resurrection by following His sacrifice unto death. Sealed as Christ's own forever.

David Duggan is an attorney living in Chicago. He is a frequent contributor to Virtueonline

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