I figure everyone is on social media right now, talking about the Iron Bowl that ended just like everyone expected—on a 100 yard missed field goal return by Auburn. Totally saw it coming. Anyway, more serious business to attend to tonight:
I’ve decided to get baptized again.
For those who know me or are familiar with my blog, you know that doubts over my salvation have been a problem for the past two years. While I can’t say they’re definitely over forever, I can say I’m growing more confident in Christ and His finished work, and my desire to find joy in Him and follow Him as He makes me new is growing. More than that, I’ve seen what God has done and is doing in my life, and though it may be hard to see at times, it is undoubtedly there, and:
“He who started a good work in you is faithful to bring it to completion.”–Philippians 1:6
But, especially to my church family at Lakeside Baptist, I want to address concerns and I want you to understand why I’ve made the decision to be baptized again.
When I was baptized at 8, I had said a prayer to Jesus for salvation, and I knew I needed to be baptized. I somewhat mentally understood the gospel and its implications for my life, but it led to a teenage life that was largely void of growing affection for Jesus.
I can’t say my affections for Jesus are where they should be. But at 15, I didn’t even notice that I didn’t love Jesus. Now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I can beg God to give me an affection for Jesus because I see it waning.
When I sinned as a teenager, I knew it was wrong. I asked for forgiveness. But I cannot remember ever thinking, “Jesus is better.” It was more of, “This makes me feel bad. God forgive me so I feel better.”
Now, when I sin, whether that be in lust, anger, idolatry, pride, etc….I realize that my biggest problem isn’t that I feel bad because I’m a bad person. My biggest problem is that I’m not walking with Christ and finding joy in Him. Now, I go to God, hating and confessing my sin, having His mind about my sin and simultaneously trusting Jesus for forgiveness and change. That is a work of the Holy Spirit.
I can see how God has changed me, particularly in my desires and my relationships with others. I no longer wish to live for myself, or to sin and walk in the ways of the world, but I long to find joy in Christ, and desire to be made new and walk in holiness. Instead of trying to appease others and gain worldly success, I realize that God will take care of me, and in those moments where I’m resting in Christ, I realize that I am completely satisfied, and I only wish to serve and encourage others that we may see Jesus together. Basically…it’s become all about Him.
My life goal….Jesus. Jesus enjoyed, Jesus reflected, Jesus honored. Why? Because Jesus is King. And Jesus is good. Even though I doubt, and even though I can’t see the in and out details of what that means and looks like for me, I know it’s true. And I’m praying God would grant me a deeper faith.
When I’m honest about myself, I realize I have a long, long, long way to go in following Jesus. And it’s discouraging. Until I read Philippians 1:6 again.
“He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.”
Not “if you do this, He’ll complete it,” not “maybe He’ll complete it,” not “Try harder, then God will bring it to completion.” No. God finishes what He started. Always.
That shouldn’t make us lazy. It should make us worship. It should make us find joy in Him. It should make us love Him. I pray it does for me, and for you.
Then I remember that 2 Corinthians tells me that if I’m “in Christ,” I am a “new creation.” I’m already new b/c I lean on Christ and trust in Him.
It is a good work God has done. And make no mistake, it is His work. When I walk down that aisle tomorrow morning, I’m not sharing about some decision I made, or something I’ve done.
God found me. God came to me. When I was drowning in sin and going the wrong path, God set me on the right one. Have I wandered? Yes. Have I been completely faithful? No. But God is always faithful to me. God is always faithful to show me the stupidity of my sin and tell me that Jesus is better.
God turned me against my sin. God made me say “Jesus is Lord.” God opened up my heart to receive a new life under the Lordship of Jesus with joy.
When I get baptized, what I’m telling the church, the world and God is: “I believe what Jesus did on the cross is enough to cover my sins, and His perfection is perfectly able to make me right with God.”
When I go under the water, dying to self and sin, what I’m telling the church, the world and God is: “I don’t want to sin. I want joy in Christ. I believe that when God told me ‘Jesus is better,’ He was telling the truth. And I want my life to show that.”
I’m not perfect. Jesus is. I have a long way to go. But Jesus is there every step of the way, and even in doubts, all I can do is trust, even if it is apart from feelings, that Jesus is enough…for salvation, for life, for..everything. And He deserves my obedience. He deserves my love because He first loved me by living the perfect life I could not, by dying the death I should have died, and raising me to new life with Him.
To quote John Piper, “Sanctification isn’t perfection, it’s direction.” I can’t say I’ll never sin again. I know I will. That’s why I’m trusting Jesus to cover my entire life with His precious blood. But I can say, by the power of the Holy Spirit, by God’s grace, sin is my enemy. I won’t ever be who I used to be. Because I know when I sin, I have a Lord and Savior who stands ready to forgive me and change me as I turn and agree with Him, hating my sin.
Wrapping up, I do want to address a concern that is legitimate–For those who were baptized at a young age, this is MY story (Or God’s story). This is what God has done in MY life. If you love Jesus and He is Lord and you hate your sin and desire to follow Jesus in joy and obedience, and you trust in Him–please don’t doubt your salvation because I realized that I was wrong.
I don’t want to cause anyone, especially those in the church, to worry if they are truly saved–if they are indeed truly saved. But I don’t want to give false assurance to those who claim to be a Christian and yet boldly walk in sin and unbelief. If we are holding on to any sin, trying to negotiate the cleansing we need from Christ, we must question whether or not we have truly repented.
We don’t change ourselves. That’s why we need Jesus as Lord. But He is Lord on His terms, not ours. What He says, goes. What He says is best.
So I pray that Christ overcomes all sin and resistance in my heart in establishing His reign and rule. I pray He changes my desires to be for Him. I pray He gives me joy in Him so I obey. And I pray He gives me more faith, and takes away doubt, allowing me to simply and confidently, rest in Jesus because He has done it. He accomplished my salvation 2,000 years ago, and now, I simply turn to call Him Lord and agree with Him, and rest in what He’s done.
If you haven’t done that, please don’t hesitate to contact me about what it means to be a Christian.
If you would pray for me, you can pray that I:
- Stop doubting Jesus
- Rest in His forgiveness
- Confidently share Christ with others
- Enjoy freedom with the Lord and follow Him in joy
I’m thankful for my church family, and I Iook forward to going and proclaiming Christ tomorrow by going forward for baptism.
May God bless you and keep you. May Jesus be sweeter and more beautiful than sin. May our hearts rest in Christ as Lord and Savior.