For those who have moved, or are moving, from skeptic, pagan or unbeliever to a disciple of Jesus Christ, four characteristics are present.
Also referred to as salvation, justification, being born again, or simply believing, conversion is the transition of the individual who has heard the gospel of Christ, been moved to understanding, repents and is spiritually awakened and reborn by the Spirit of God into the Kingdom of Christ so that they might conform to His image and will.
Baptism is initiation into the family of God for one who has been converted. This washing signifies multiple new statuses as a believer.
- Our sin and our former desires have been washed away
- We have left the kingdom of darkness to enter the true kingdom of light
- We have died with Christ to the old way of thinking in order to rise with him in the new
- Though we will die, we will also be physically raised with Him
- We are joined to Christ and his body
- We are submerged in the Spirit of God
- We have passed through judgment and are now justified and forgiven
All who enter into the body of Christ through baptism, are joined not only with Him but also with all others that have also joined together with him. Collectively, this church, or assembly, is the the universal body, the temple, where Christ continues His work throughout all the world.
Traditionally, members of that body covenant together in local areas for the purpose of accountability and edification of each other.
Also referred to as The Lord's Supper, the meal (along with baptism) is one of two ordained practices that Jesus Himself has commanded us to continue. As He broke bread and gave wine the night He was sentenced to death, we are commanded with the church to commune with Christ physically and spiritual by the replication of this meal.
Communion has two elements:
- Bread - the body of our Lord, humble, broken, not fermented, free from corruption
- Wine - the blood of our Lord, covenantal, lavish and rich, cleansing
Communion has multiple realities:
Unites us in love with Christ
Unites us in love with our brothers and sisters
Spiritually refreshes and recommits us to the New Covenant
Recalls our hope in the resurrection