"Some say if baptism is a means of grace, it would follow that everyone who is baptized would be saved. The gospel is also a means of grace, but it certainly does not follow that everyone who hears or reads the gospel will be saved. The means saves through faith, but where unfaith steps in, the means serves no purpose... Bread is a means of nourishment, but it does not follow that one who has bread cannot starve. He will starve, if he does not eat." PP Waldenström (1838-1917)
He does like making me think!
OK, so I guess "grace" needs to be specified, eh? In essence (even as I type this my Baptist roots are shaking...), I agree with Waldenstrom. As I said in the March 22 entry,
"Baptism is at least an ordinance, but it is more. It is at least a symbol, but it is more. So, while I have not thought through all the details I believe that baptism in some way incorporates the individual into the body of Christ (maybe psychologically), mirroring what the Holy Spirit does in reality."
I would agree that baptism, Eucharist, and a host of other practices provide actual, spiritual nourishment, and that they do something in reality. Exactly what that entails, I do not know. Frankly, it's a long road from the 'just a symbol' notion with which I was raised, but the Bible seems to teach more, so I'm moving towards more. Though I do not believe I will go as far as some of my more sacramental brethren :-)