Christian Themes

Despite their brevity, the baptismal instruction sermons are packed with meaning. Chief among the important ideas conveyed by Chrysostom is the notion that baptism is a permanent, life-altering event, the consequences of which last into the next life. Baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ sets a Christian apart from the rest of society in both thought and action, both in this earthly life and in the world to come. Because of baptism’s tremendous consequences, catechumens should be aware of exactly what type of covenantal relationship they are agreeing to enter.

To help them navigate their new lifestyle, the baptized should constantly refer back to Scripture, Chrysostom says. The literal meaning of the Scriptures is straightforward. A thorough knowledge of Scripture will provide one with plenty of examples of how to think and act for the sake of heaven. Jesus himself provides the perfect example for Christians to emulate.

Chrysostom asks Christians to pay less attention to their social and physical selves, and much more attention to their spiritual selves. He asks them to forgo previous patterns of thought and behavior, to give attention to the poor and the vulnerable in society, to turn away from anything that gives power to Satan, to act in the grace of the Lord, and to give glory to God.