Sunday I found myself at a wonderful little Missionary Church for the dedication of a family member’s children. It was truly touching and joyous event. But of course, I couldn’t help but think of the first Sacrament of the Holy Orthodox Church–baptism, done most frequently to babies.
During the service, the pastor said “Of course, this is not for their salvation.” Oh boy. Here we go…
Yes…yes, it is. Even by the Protestant construct, it is, in fact, salvific. Hang with me here. Because these two Christian parents are taking this step, dedicating their children, promising to raise them up in the care and admonition of the Lord, those children will most likely come into contact with God’s love and grace in a way that so many children will not. They will hear the “Plan of Salvation,” they will be baptized. They will take communion. They will learn the stories of the heroes of the faith, and how to walk with Christ. They will be saved. So, one can argue that yes, in fact, dedicating your children in the Protestant sense is “for their salvation.”
And that, my friends, is sacramental. These things we do, these promises we make, these pledges to honor, to obey, to submit, to follow God on His terms, work for our Salvation. Period. Just like the “wages of sin is death” is not so much a legal description but rather a cold, hard statement of fact, it is true that, even apart from the Orthodox understanding of the transmission of God’s grace through the sacraments, Protestant actions are FOR SALVATION.
By any construct, salvation is a process, beginning at childhood and continuing until our deaths.