Baptism is the Sacrament of Packing, as the Church says, or, in Russian, a new birth. The Lord Himself, sending the disciples, says: "Go, teach all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ..." (Matthew 28: 19).
Baptism, as well as physical birth, is possible only once. "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesus 4: 5); "I believe ... in one baptism for the remission of sins" (the nickel-Constantinople Creed is 381 year). "One birth from heaven. One is from the flesh, and the other from the Spirit, one is from mortality, and the other from eternity, one is from man and wife, and the other from God and the Church. But both are once "(blessed Augustine).
The Ancient Church did not know the word Baptism. This is a Slavonic word, and it is produced from the cross. Baptism is literally a mystery, the mystery of the Cross of Christ. The New Testament knows another word-baptiso, which means immersion, ablution. And when before the holy fathers the task was to name the Baptist to highlight the basic ideas of theology of this Sacrament, in the writings of the Church Fathers, Baptism was called Enlightenment. "Enlightenment is the best and majestic of the gifts of God. ... We call baptiso gift, grace, baptism, anointing, enlightenment, clothing incorruption, a bath of pakibytiya, a seal, everything that is respectful for us. We give a gift, as given to those who do not bring anything from themselves; grace, as given to those who still must; baptism (Greek - immersion), because sin is raked in the water; anointing, as something priestly and royal, because kings and priests were anointed; enlightenment as lordship; with clothing as a shroud of shame; bathing as a bath; the seal as a preservation and a sign of domination. Of this gift heaven rejoices; it is glorified by the angels, according to the affinity of the Lordship; He is the image of Heavenly bliss; We also want to sing it, but we can not ... "(St. Gregory the Theologian).
"Baptism - the redemption of corruptible people, the forgiveness of debts, the death of sin, the recollection of the soul, light clothing, the inviolable seal, chariot to heaven, the preparation of the Kingdom, the gift of sonship (St. Basil the Great).
Baptism is like a new and supernatural birth. Birth through death. Plunging into baptismal waters, a person symbolically dies for the former, sinful life and resurrects to life a new, holy one. As Christ spent three days in a tomb and left it for a new glorious life, so the person baptized after a three-time immersion in the font emerges from there differently. All old is rejected, a new life begins.
For the ancient Christians, it was obvious that Baptism is the mystery of absolute renewal. Learning that some brothers and sisters who once accepted Christ, sin, distort Tradition, an. Paul is perplexed: "For it is impossible, once enlightened, and tasting the gift of heaven, and having become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and having tasted the good word of God and the forces of the future age, and are renewed again by repentance when they crucify the Son of God again and curse him" (Hebrew 6: 4-6). This "impossible" is a vivid evidence that in ancient times the acceptance of Baptism was conceived as a perfect renewal, transformation.
Baptism was prepared for many years, the person who started the sacrament studied the basics of faith, the Holy Scriptures ... Then, over those wishing to receive Baptism, a rite of spell was performed. He was cast out of evil spirits. And after all this, the Sacrament was performed. Today, when the question: what is needed in order to be baptized? .. in the church is often answered: "a hundred rubles and a towel", we must admit that for many this Sacrament has lost its lofty mystical meaning. Baptism for many has become a burdensome rite, after which it is permitted to wear a cross.
Few people understand that Baptism is an opportunity to realize oneself, to become what God wants us to be, to join eternity. Baptism is the door to the Kingdom of Heaven, why are we, once entering this door, trampling at the entrance? ..
It's like possessing a certain wealth, a treasure, but to hide it, bury it and drag it out all life. And so in poverty and die. If we hear about such a person, we condemn him or chuckle at him. But are not we, dear reader? We have heavenly riches, treasures of a blessed life, but we avoid the Church, we exchange a feast in the House of Father for a dry ration of transitory and shallow earthly pleasures.
Today the Sacrament of Baptism is performed in all the temples, at a certain time. From the baptized one needs to have faith and the desire to live a godly life. An adult who wants to receive the Holy Baptism must remember that at the moment of baptism he will pronounce the terrible and responsible words of renunciation of all evil and demonic. "Dun and spit on Satan" - with such words the priest turns to the baptized. And the act of blowing and spitting is not just a tribute to the grizzled antiquity. And today these words and actions are a challenge to Satan, a gesture of contempt and ridicule. When, after baptism, a person leaves the font with a grin on his lips, he does not understand that he has just declared war on Satan. The newly baptized, keen on life and entertainment, can soon forget about this. But the devil will never forget this.
Coming to the baptismal font I say: you understand that always, always, you will resist Satan. Satan will always harm you and enmity against you. Are you ready for this? .. And then I give an example. After baptism, a person's life becomes more difficult, more difficult. Everything that happened before - falls, diseases can become aggravated ... All this is because the devil becomes your enemy, and only the life of the church can save us from the demonic evil influence. To be baptized and not to live the life of the Church is like declaring war on a powerful enemy, and then, abandoning the weapon, escape from it. Are you ready, baptized, to confront the enraged devil daily, ready to trust God in everything, praying daily, going to church, as required by the Church, to practice good deeds? And many of those who come to baptism honestly answer: "not ready" and leave the font.
So, the first and indispensable condition for baptism should be the desire to lead an uncompromising struggle not for life, but for death with the enemy of the human race - the devil.
The second. Coming to baptism, you need to have at least the basics of religious knowledge. What is Orthodoxy, why the Church is needed, what it means to be a Christian.
Coming to the baptismal font, one must take to oneself as guides, guides along the paths of the spiritual life of people who are experienced, prayerful, and ecclesiastical. They are called godparents or recipients.
The opinion that godparents are needed only for babies is a prejudice. All of us, by and large, are babies in faith and spiritual life. So, we all need receivers.
Finally, if you are spiritually ready to call yourself disciples of Christ, are ready to take your cross and follow the Savior, go to the temple where you will be given the day of baptism, the day of spiritual birth.