Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ!

It's with much excitement that I announce that I will be baptized at Mount Zion Baptist on Sunday morning! Most of you who grew up with me are probably very surprised, as you remember me being baptized when I was young....yes, I was "baptized". Problem being that it was when I thought I was a follower of Christ, but I truly wasn't. I had said a prayer, but at that point, I did not realize what "true surrender" to Christ meant. So, in essence, I was simply taking a "plunge" in the baptismal pool - it had no meaning. But the story gets better. On October 9, 1999, I truly surrendered my life to the Lord. I remember the exact time (7:30 PM), place (Acworth First Baptist, GA), and I remember the indescribable joy of the Holy Spirit entering my life at that very moment. I have grown tremendously in my faith since my decision to surrender my life to the Lord. Most of you have seen that growth and the joy I have through Christ (even through rough circumstances). I don't say this to boast - but Christ is evident in my life. I believe I stand out in the "crowd" - but why? Jesus! He has changed my life. He is my one true Romancer! Who else can paint the sky, or a rainbow, or command the sun to rise and set? He is my Abba - my Daddy!

Baptized at Mt. Zion Baptist
Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
This past Sunday night (January 27), Dr. Stan Coffee spoke at the Calhoun Baptist Association Annual Conference. One thing he said really spoke to me that night. He said something down the lines of this - "Maybe your baptism is out of order. Maybe you were baptized before you came to know Christ. If so, you were simply dipped in a tub of water - it had no meaning. It doesn't count." Never in my life had it made sense until now. In the car on the way home, the Holy Spirit was heavy on my heart, and there was no denying it. I had the radio on, and Dr. Charles Stanley was speaking on obedience (oh, how I love the Lord's divine timing). Obedience is doing what the Lord says, when He says it, and for Him alone - no one else matters. Satan was attempting to plant a seed of doubt - I was afraid what others would think...would judgment come from others?  I have news for you, Satan - through the strength of my Savior, I overcame! The Lord wanted me to follow through with baptism, and starting at that moment, I was ready to be obedient. I had always thought that my previous "baptism" counted, but I was very wrong....on Sunday morning, I will make it right.

My parents made a special trip from Georgia
to see me baptized. This picture was taken after
 Baptism itself does not save us. It is an act of obedience, and the symbolism of the old self (before receiving eternal life) dying, and the new self (after receiving eternal life) alive in Christ. It is a declaration of our new lives in Christ.

1 Peter 3:21 - And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also - not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.

So if baptism doesn't save us from eternal death, what does? We have to acknowledge that Jesus came to this earth with a mission to pay our penalty for sin, which is death. In order to accomplish that, He suffered a terrible death on a cross. But three days later, He conquered the grave - He was raised from the dead! We don't serve a dead God, but a living God! We have to be willing to repent and turn from our selfish and sinful ways, and strive for what God expects from us (we know what He expects from His word). Lastly, we have to trust Him - trust Him with every part of our lives. He will radically transform your life if you let Him.