Friday, June 28, 2013

…and be Baptized…

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

This week we have been taking a look about truthfulness and our own sin.  I know they have been heavier reading but I hope they have helped you to be honest with yourself and let go of sin you are holding onto.

…and be Baptized…
We are wrapping up the devotionals this week with a look at the second thing Paul said needed to be done to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Some confusion exists concerning this verse. Some people believe it to teach baptism as essential for salvation rather than a testimony of salvation.  The essential means of receiving the forgiveness of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is the decisive two-sided spiritual act: repentance and belief in the name of Jesus.

HOWEVER, baptism, as the outward expression of this repentance and faith is not to be underemphasized. 

·      Christ calls us to confess Him before men if He is to confess us before the Father.
·      Many a “spiritual miscarriage” has occurred when someone comes to the very edge of a “saving faith” and backs away when called to confess. Never underestimate the call the baptism!

The Meaning of Baptism
What is the biblical meaning of baptism? We can capsule this meaning by considering two significant words—believer and symbolic.   Once you have repented and accepted Jesus as your savior, you will want to follow through with the ordinance of baptism.  Baptism's meaning begins with the fact that only a believer, a saved person, should be baptized. This biblical truth rules out baptizing babies or others who cannot personally respond to Jesus in faith. The truth also denies any practice of being baptized for others—such as people who have already died. Only a person saved by faith in Jesus Christ can be properly baptized.

As it says above, for the Christian, baptism is symbolic. Baptists regard baptism as purely, totally, and only symbolic, with no power to save. Baptism contains no magical meaning or power.  The Apostle Paul insisted that people are saved by grace through faith and not by works. (Romans 3:21-31; Ephesians 2:8-10). The works to which he denied any saving power were religious rituals—such as were practiced in Jewish ceremonial law. Baptism symbolizes and pictures salvation. It does not give salvation; it is not required for salvation; and its absence does not withhold salvation.  However, it is a proclamation of your faith. People who are saved and do not follow through with baptism may feel they have not completed the process. The longer a person waits, it becomes much harder to go back and do it. 

Baptism symbolizes the total Christian experience. The one accepting baptism expresses his or her confession of faith in Christ and symbolizes in the act of baptism their burial or death to sin their confidence in a resurrection to new life.  The act of being baptized also expresses the believer's vital spiritual relationship with Christ.  Only a saved person can join such a celebration.
God is willing to cancel all your debts and then come and live with you, guide you, change you and empower you. You cannot work to receive this. It cannot be earned, or bought. It is a free gift to all who repent—who turn from darkness to light—and call on the name of the Lord.  Hand it all over to Him today and have the abundant life He gives to all who will receive.

Scripture to Claim:
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection…  Romans 6:3-6

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