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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Out of the Water: Reflecting on God's Promises

As I rose out of the water this past Sunday at church, a joy had washed over me. Getting baptized was something that had always been on the back of my mind. Finally, after waiting too long, I went up on stage, shared my testimony, and walked down into the water. The anticipation made me nervous, but that nervousness disappeared as I walked onto the platform.

I was happy to share my story, because it reminded me of how far I had come, and what could be an inspiration to others in the audience.

After that event, I began to reflect on what it means to be a saved person, a Christian. Many people get so caught up in various denominations and rituals that they lose sight of the bigger picture. It's sad the key thing gets forgotten: the Good News.

As I opened my Bible this past week I was reminded about some of the glorious promises God has made to his children, born again believers. Jesus states that "this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up on the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life and raise him up on the last day."

What a wonderful, simple truth which sadly many people just don't understand. Many choose not to believe in the Son, laugh, and walk away. And on other other side, there are those who believe that we somehow have to be good enough for God to accept us; we have to somehow make sure our good outweighs the bad in order for a belief to work.

But what a great thing here Jesus Himself states. We'll never be good enough. He is the only One good enough, and we must simply believe in him. This is such a fundamental truth of Christianity that is skewed around. We don't "get good" enough for Christ to accept us. We strive to become good because His love compels us to change.

I know this firsthand. For a few years I had an ongoing sin problem.  When I came to faith, God planted something in me that has helped me stop and strive to be better going forward.

And this leads me to this point, a verse I had never really thought too much about until reading through it recently. People bring up this concept of cheap grace to receive, but to continue living a sinful lifestyle. This doesn't make sense, because "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in Him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God."

A born again believer is a new person because they are born of God. And what's utterly fantastic is that He plants a seed, not just any seed but God's seed in that person, and it doesn't fade or go away. That's what separates Christians from the rest of the world. There's a seed inside us that grows as we follow Christ. The verse is not saying we are perfect people. Rather, it says we cannot go on deliberately sinning like we use to, because we have God's seed, His power within us.

That is monumental to really just take a moment and think about.

Finally, a verse that is quickly becoming a favorite and daily motivation is Philippians 1:6, perhaps the most fundamental promise for the Christian. "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until day of Christ Jesus." What a promise, and let us not forget that "All of Scripture is God-breathed." Here is a promise saying God is going to finish the work He started in us ever since the day we came to faith. What a glorious thing to know that He is the One holding me together.

God is going to finish the work He started in me, and that's a great encouragement to know I'm secure in Him. And since His seed remains in me, I'm bent toward doing the right thing. We still have a responsibility to follow Jesus throughout this life, and we're able to do that because God has given us the power through the Holy Spirit.

These are such great truths to reflect on when worrying about things. God is going to finish the work He started in you when you came to faith. His seed will remain in you, and you are able to say no to sin, when in the past it was all too easy to give in. We look to the Son, and that inspires us to share this truth of salvation to others we run into.

I'll never forget the day I was baptized. I encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to do it too if they haven't. It's a declaration of faith, and something Jesus commands His followers to do. As you read your testimony, your're reminded of how He rescued you from the bondage of sin and planted a permanent seed. In turn, we inspire others.

God is awesome.

Verse references: John 6:39-40, 1st John 3:9, Philippians 1:6, 2nd Timothy 3:16

1 comment:

  1. Great Achievement! I still have not been officially baptized I believe. If I was, it would have been as a baby so it wouldn't really count. I've always been unsure about going through the process. I dunno, I know that the Bible does point to doing so several times and it is basically said that it's a good thing to do. My main issue with it has always been that the Churches that I've been too have always tried to guilttrip/scare people into going through with it. Saying things like "God commands all Christians to be baptized, so if you have not yet gone, then you're sinning against him" While the verses can maybe be interpreted to mean something like that, I don't inherently agree. Willingly deciding not to be baptized may not be a good move and I will make sure to still do it someday...but I don't agree with the tactic of scaring people into doing it. I'm the kind of person who doesn't really like to be told that I have to do something. It's necessary in some contexts like on the job or if your parents give you a task. I'm happy to comply with that, but otherwise, whether it be in an online forum, in person at a recreational event, or at Church, I just don't like that "Holier than thou" attitude that some people can have so it makes me want to do the opposite within reason. Stepping off the soapbox, still great to see that you've gone through with it Destroyer. It is a great public demonstration of your faith in God and one of the main reasons why I consider it to be so important.