Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (Acts 19:4-5)
St John Chrysostom offers comments on the baptismal rite and its effects on the sinner seeking God’s mercy and salvation. His first comment begins with the priest anointing the catechumen with oil before the baptism.
“After this anointing the priest makes you go down into the sacred waters, burying the old man and at the same time raising up the new, who is renewed in the image of his Creator. It is at this moment that, through the words and the hands of the priest, the Holy Spirit descends upon you. Instead of the man who descended into the water, a different man comes forth, one who has wiped away all the filth of his sins, who has put off the old garment of sin and has put on the royal robe.” (DAILY READINGS FROM THE WRITINGS OF ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, pp 20)
[Chrysostom holds to the idea that the person emerging from the baptismal waters is already part of the new creation. Thus a ‘different’ person emerges from the baptismal waters than descended into them. Already in this lifetime we begin to live the new creation in the resurrected Christ and share in both His humanity and divinity. As St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Our lives are to be changed and so we are to live no longer as we did before – for the flesh, for pleasure, in self-interest—rather we now live in and for Christ. “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).]
“What follows suffices to show us from what those who have been judged worthy of this mystic right have been set free, and what they have gained. As soon as they come forth from those sacred waters, all who are present, embrace them, greet them, kiss them, rejoice with them, and congratulate them, because those who were heretofore slaves and captives have suddenly become free men and sons and have been invited to the royal table. For straightaway, after they come up from the waters, they are led to the awesome table heavy laden with countless favors, where they taste of the Master’s body and blood, and become a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Since they have put on Christ Himself, wherever they go, they are like angels on earth, rivaling the brilliance of the rays of the sun.” (DAILY READINGS FROM THE WRITINGS OF ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, p 19)