A New Life Made Possible
We were created to be God's children, but we have disowned our Father by rejecting his authority and disobeying his words. We try to find happiness apart from God, only to experience disappointment and emptiness. The only way to find meaning and happiness in life is to mend our broken relationship with God. Only with God in our lives can we have joy, peace, comfort, and security.
Our Heavenly Father, in his infinite mercy, promises to receive us when we believe Jesus as our Savior, repent of all our sins, and determine to return to God. He offers to change our lives and give us the hope of an eternal life.
But to restore his relationship with us without denying his justice, God himself had to pay the price for our sins. Therefore, he came to the world as a human being--Jesus Christ, and paid the ransom for our sins by giving his life on the cross.
Jesus' blood, which was shed on the cross, cancels the debt of our sins, delivers us from the dreadful eternal consequence of hell, and reunites us with God. In order to become God's children again and receive a new life, we must believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior and let his blood remove our sins.
God has already offered a way of reconciliation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We just need to return to God by accepting the cleansing in Jesus' blood.
Blood and Water
How does the blood of Christ wash away our sins? How do we accept the cleansing that God requires? How is it possible for us to be actually washed and cleansed by the blood of Christ today? To find the answer, we must go back to the cross.
After Jesus died on the cross, "one of the soldiers pierced [Jesus'] side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness--his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth--that you also may believe" (John 19:34,35).
John, a disciple of Jesus, witnessed a miracle below the cross-- a flow of blood and water! It is amazing that water and blood could flow from someone who has died and be abundant enough to be seen distinctly from a distance. So John had to stress that his account was true.
This miracle is significant because Christ poured out his blood along with water, and so he opened a fountain of cleansing. This historical event is the basis of the cleansing effect of baptism, which involves water. The blood that flowed from the cross two thousand years ago still washes away sins today during baptism.
Water, Blood, and the Holy Spirit
John, who witnessed the miracle of blood and water explained the meaning of what he saw. "This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree" (1 John 5:6-8).
Baptism is where water and blood come together, under the eternal Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the witness who enables this union, which transcends space and time. So when a sinner is baptized in water, he is actually baptized in the blood of Christ!
The presence of Christ's blood in baptism accounts for the many visions and miracles that have occurred during baptisms.
God often opens the eyes of people, including passers-by and people who observe the baptism, to see visions of blood in the water. Some see the Lord Jesus on the cross, his blood flowing down to the baptismal area. And some receive instant healing when they are baptized. These miracles confirm that baptism is truly a saving act of God.
Baptism is not invented by man. It is an act of God which he commands us to receive. Jesus promises that "he who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). There is saving effect in the cleansing power of baptism.
The outward action of baptism, which Jesus and his disciples demonstrated, involves going into natural flowing water, head bowed, and being totally immersed in the water. Baptism must also be performed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The inward effect of baptism is the cleansing of the soul by the blood of Christ. Baptism is that key moment in your conversion when Jesus' blood will take effect on you and restore your relationship with God, making you his child once again.
No sin is too great to be forgiven. God is ready to pardon everyone who turns back to him and seeks cleansing. But you must first accept Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation, confess your sins before God, and determine to follow his words.
It is during baptism that you come before your Savior with your heavy burden of sin. As you are immersed in water in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, his blood, which was shed on the cross, will cover all your sins. There, on account of Jesus' sacrifice, God will pardon every sin that you've ever committed in your life.
Therefore, baptism, along with faith and repentance, is necessary for the forgiveness of sins. For this reason, Peter, a disciple of Jesus, commanded the believers to be baptized. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38).
A New Life Begins
The Bible calls baptism "the washing of rebirth" because it is a spiritual rebirth and the beginning of a new life (see Titus 3:5 and John 3:5). This new life is possible because Christ has overcome the power of sin by his resurrection.
As your sins are forgiven during baptism, a spiritual transformation occurs--the death and burial of the sinful being and the rebirth of a spiritual, eternal life. The blood of the Lord Jesus brings your spiritual being back to life.
"And you were buried with [Christ] in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses" (Colossians 2:12,13).
The moment you come up out of the water, you become a new being who has escaped the punishment of sin and possess the hope of eternal life.
New Life in Christ
During baptism, we exchange our sinful beings with the life of Christ. So every believer who is baptized now lives in Christ. The Bible speaks of such exchange as "putting on Christ." Our Lord Jesus takes off our filthy clothes and puts on us a robe of righteousness, a righteousness as the result of his perfect, sinless life.
This robe covers the shame of our sins and shields us from God's righteous wrath. Whenever we ask for forgiveness for failing to keep God's commandments, God will forgive us because of Jesus' sacrifice. How great is Christ's love, that his blood continues to wash our sins away until we reach heaven!
Along with the new life in Christ are God's blessings and gracious promises. His love and guidance lead us daily, even through the deepest sorrows. His peace and joy fill our hearts always, even when we suffer pain and heartache.
Life becomes fulfilling because we have assurance of heaven and our lives have a clear purpose. We can look beyond the grave to a blissful, eternal home.
New Life in the Church
The blood of Christ not only brings us to God. It also unites all believers. When we are baptized, we become part of God's household, which consists of all God's children. The Bible calls this household the body of Christ, or the church.
"For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body..." (1 Corinthians 12:12,13).
We are to live out the new life in God's family. We are to share all our happiness and sadness, blessings and suffering with other members of the family. God wants us to live in a spiritual community to learn to serve and give.
When we come together to worship God and encourage each other, we allow Christ's life to flow through this community and out into the world.
Dead to Sin, Alive to Christ
The change of identity that occurs during baptism must also lead to a change in attitude and lifestyle. Paul, an apostle of Jesus, reminds us that the free grace of God should not be a license to remain in sin.
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:14).
Baptism teaches us to say no to sin and yes to God's will.
We used to be rebellious children and went our own ways. But the life that we live after baptism is no longer ours, but Christ's. We ought to live as obedient children and determine to become as perfect as our Heavenly Father.
Even so, it is not by our efforts that we can live out God's perfect nature. With God's grace in our lives, we can have power over our own weaknesses. The salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ is a life-long gift. As long as we determine to be obedient to God, he will continue to transform our lives. By building and keeping a trusting relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ after baptism, we can witness how God continues to work wonders in our lives.
Why Let Your Savior Wait?
As much as God loves you, and as wonderful as Christ's salvation is, this love and salvation can come to you only if you are willing to repent of your sins, accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and are baptized into Christ.
When the time comes for you to leave this world and face God's judgment, whether or not your sins have been paid for will be all that matters.
Since we do not know when that time will come, we must heed this urgent calling:
"Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6,7).
True faith means acting on what you believe once you understand God's word. Indecision is just unbelief in disguise.
Christ has done everything. You don't need to wait until you are good enough for God, because no one can ever be good enough for God without the help of Christ.
God is ready to accept you as you are, with all your brokenness, despair, and misery. You just have to make the choice of accepting him and his free gift of eternal life.
Our loving Father is waiting patiently for you to come back to him. Why remain in the fleeting and deadly pleasure of sin when your loving Father is waiting with open arms, ready to welcome you into to the freedom and blessings in his house? Do not reject him any longer. Come back to God and start a new life with him today.
"And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16).
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