I grew up in a home that planted the seed of who God is, who Christ is, and the principles of the Bible. I did a lot of things Christians were supposed to do. As a child, I always thought I was a Christian, and proclaimed belief in God. Around the age of 10, I went through the motions of baptism with a pastor I do not remember, at a church I do not remember. At the time, it was symbolic of nothing and a profession of the same, as God had not yet changed my heart. It simply was not baptism. It took many years for me to realize this, and to truly comprehend the Biblical significance of baptism. The reality is, I never submitted to the life-changing power of the Gospel, and failed to see the true condition of my soul before our sovereign God. I was actually headed through the wide gate and down the broad path that leads to destruction, only to hear “depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:13, 23) As a teenager I lived an indulgent lifestyle, clinging to the fleeting pleasure of sin, seemingly much greater than the perceived legalistic life of a Christian, which I so quickly declared. Sadly, I was not saved at the time; I was a blasphemer. The pattern of my life was no different until God saved me years later.
Nearly 9 years ago as a college student, God saved me by His grace, through faith; for it was not of myself. It was the gift of God, not a result of my works. (Ephesians 2:8&9) May I boast of nothing except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). It was then that God opened my eyes to the truth of His infallible Word, to confess and repent, and to trust in Jesus Christ as my savior from the sinful nature of my heart. Jesus came to earth, both fully God and fully man to live a perfect life, and to bury the sin of those who trust in Him through His death on the cross. He rose from the grave, defeating the curse of sin, and as the only way in which we can be reconciled to an almighty, Holy God. As Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, “you must be born again.” It was not until then that I trusted in Christ and I was truly born again.
Although a believer for almost a decade, the gospel of Jesus Christ is something I need in my life every single day. In my growth as a follower of Christ, I have gained an accurate understanding of scriptural baptism. It is an outward symbol of what God has already done internally. It is a profession of faith in Christ. As such, I have never truly been baptized. I have never made a public profession to the body as a believer. Baptism saves no one, and is not necessary for salvation. It will earn me no more favor before a just God. However, I seek to be baptized as an act of obedience to Christ, and as a symbol of the rebirth that God has already performed in my life. This is something God has laid on my heart for many years, and through much prayer, is the reason I am here to be baptized today by my awesome friend and mentor. Christ commands in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…”
My prayer is that of Hebrews 12:1-2, that we as the body, may continue to encourage one another to "lay aside every encumbrance and sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising its shame and has sat down at the right hand of God."