The Water and the Blood: How the Sacraments Shape Christian Identity

By Kevin P. Emmert

... Show All

The Water and the Blood: How the Sacraments Shape Christian Identity

By Kevin P. Emmert

... Show All

This Thoughtful Book Explores How the Sacraments Shape Christian Identity in Christ 

Our culture today teaches us that we must look inside ourselves to discover our place and purpose in life—we can determine our own identities and express them however we want. This self-centered approach promises freedom and fulfillment, but it leads only to confusion and despair. 

In The Water and the Blood, Kevin P. Emmert combats this egocentric mindset with a sustainable solution through Jesus Christ. Emmert explores the depth of Christian identity, which our triune God makes visible through the sacraments of the gospel.

This thoughtful, theologically driven book explains how God uses multisensory elements—water, bread, and wine—to communicate to his people and unite them to the life-giving body of Christ. Readers will be inspired to joyfully embrace the identity they have received in Christ as baptized and communing persons.  

  • Offers a Sustainable Solution for Identity Confusion: This book uncovers how a transformative relationship with Christ produces lasting significance and purpose 
  • Examines the Sacraments: By exploring baptism and Communion, this book outlines what identity in Christ entails and how it is strengthened
  • Great for Pastors, Seminary Students, and Scholars: Rich in theology, contents from this book will help Christian leaders teach others how the sacraments shape Christian identity 

Read Chapter 1


Kevin P. Emmert

Kevin P. Emmert (PhD, London School of Theology) is an academic book editor at Crossway and the author of John Calvin and the Righteousness of Works. He is married to Ashley, and they have three sons: Jack, Charlie, and Noah.

Product Details

Title: The Water and the Blood
Subtitle: How the Sacraments Shape Christian Identity
Published: November 07, 2023
ISBN-10: 1-4335-8499-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-8499-2
Category: Christian Living
Culture & Social Issues
Retail Price: $19.99
Binding: Paperback
Trim: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Page Count: 240

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Problem of the Christian Self

Chapter 1: Word and Sacrament
Chapter 2: Sacraments and Identity
Chapter 3: Baptized Persons
Chapter 4: Communing Persons
Chapter 5: Conforming Persons
Chapter 6: Participating Persons

Conclusion: Reimagining the Christian Self
General Index
Scripture Index


“The relationship between identity and the sacraments is a fascinating and timely subject, and Kevin Emmert is a judicious and thoughtful guide. Even people who differ slightly in their understanding of baptism and Communion, as I do, will benefit from reading this book, thinking through the issues, and reflecting on how it can shape disciples today.”
Andrew Wilson, Teaching Pastor, King’s Church London

“One major problem in the Christian ecclesiastical imagination is that somehow we ‘do’ church. That is both incorrect and harmful, but it plays well in a world where individuals consider their lives to be those of free self-construction and thus worship to be a matter of spontaneity and human creativity. Of the many ways of exposing and correcting this faulty vision, Kevin Emmert offers one of the most powerful: reflection on the sacraments not as things we ‘do’ but as gifts from God by which he binds us to himself. Evangelical neglect of the sacraments has taken a heavy toll on church life and has fueled our inability to resist the siren call of expressivism. This book teaches pastors and laypeople that a large part of the answer to this complicated problem lies in the simplicity of sacramental practice.”
Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College; author, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self

“In our day, questions around personal identity are swirling and ever present. And Christians are not immune from the upheaval and confusion. Kevin Emmert’s book looks for help in what for many Christians might seem an unlikely place: the sacraments. The Water and the Blood, however, is not a partisan plea for a particular view of baptism and Communion. Instead, Emmert presents a compelling and winsome case to all Christians for the value of the rites and symbols of the historic church. Here we learn that the sacraments confirm our identity as those united to Christ and inspire us to live accordingly. Emmert demonstrates how the sacraments bring purpose, meaning, and joy to our lives and invite us to live a story worth telling.”
Brian S. Rosner, Principal, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

“Amid today’s desperate and hollow quest for ‘identity,’ Kevin Emmert reminds us that to be a Christian means not only to identify with Christ but also to be in Christ. And the gateways of grace through which God draws us into Christ and forms us in his image are the very sacraments of baptism and Communion given us by Christ in Scripture.”
Joel Scandrett, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Trinity School for Ministry; executive editor, To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism

“In an age when many struggle with questions of identity, Kevin Emmert helpfully points to the sacraments as identity-forming activities that can teach us in tangible ways what it means to be persons united to Christ. The Water and the Blood offers a practical guide to how baptism and Communion can shape our identity and daily lives as believers joined to Christ. This work, steeped in Scripture and biblical insights from historical Protestant confessions and Christian thinkers, inspires all types of Protestants to reconsider baptism and Communion as critical identity-shaping rites.”
Karin Spiecker Stetina, Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

“Saturated in Scripture and the best of the Christian tradition, this book has a word for us that is too good and beautiful to ignore. Far from baptism and the Lord’s Supper being empty signs of an absent Christ, they are safe harbor, true sustenance, and, yes, identity markers. For at font and table, in the life-giving presence of our Lord, we learn whose we are and thus who we are. Read this book! It is full of wisdom and gospel truth—a balm and bulwark against the modern malaise surrounding authentic personhood.”
John C. Clark, Professor of Theology, Moody Bible Institute; coauthor, The Incarnation of God and A Call to Christian Formation

“Identity seems to be the preoccupation of our time. Unfortunately, we tend to look in all the wrong places to find it—some inward, others to the fickle affirmation of others. This book lights the path to a better way. Kevin Emmert shows how only Christ provides a solid foundation for our identity and how we encounter him afresh through the sacraments. With deep yet accessible theology, Emmert demonstrates how the sacraments help form our identity in Christ in a dynamic and tangible way. The Water and the Blood is a profound and beautiful book that will resonate with believers from a variety of traditions.”
Drew Dyck, author, Yawning at Tigers and Your Future Self Will Thank You

“Our culture has sent us and the people we love on a wild goose chase in search of our true selves. Rather than deliver on its promises of authenticity, this chase has left us anxious, divided, and confused. Kevin Emmert’s The Water and the Blood points us in a better way, showing how the heavenly gifts of baptism and the Eucharist have bolstered the people of God in their secure and tangible identity in Christ in every era. Richly researched and pastorally attuned, this volume will help every pastor and Christian exchange the wild goose chase for the still waters and green pastures of our good shepherd.”
Aaron Damiani, Rector, Immanuel Anglican Church, Chicago; author, Earth Filled with Heaven: Finding Life in Liturgy, Sacraments, and Other Ancient Practices of the Church