Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is Your Baptism unto Salvation?

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3: 11-12

In the previous passage John the Baptist was teaching and baptizing with water. He explained the value of water baptism to represent the believer's confession and repentance of sin. This sounds as though John was teaching a two step process of being saved, first, confession and repentance, then later, something else.  However, "John's baptism" was before Jesus had begun his ministry and before the giving of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, he explained that his baptism was to prepare the way for "the ONE coming after him, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire," and that His (Jesus) work was superior to his (John's)," actually, completing God plan of salvation. 

In the previous passage he told the the Pharisees and Sadducees that their baptism was nothing more that being "dunked" in the water. Maybe they had confessed and were sorry for their sins but there was no evidence of turning away from their sin. John told them, (paraphrased), "Unless there is evidence, producing "good" fruit, you are not "saved" and "you will burn with the chaff and surely die." However, if you truly repent, you will be given the Holy Spirit and fire. 

Many people go into the water and are "dunked" but come out of the water, living no different from when they went in. Maybe they confess their sins, and for the moment are sorry for having lived a sinful life. They have good intentions to live the Christian life but turning from their old life is another story. Most want to claim the reward of being saved without turning away from the old habits and lifestyle and turning to Jesus' way. In fact, many have no intention of submitting to the Holy Spirit's working in their life to enable them to resist the temptation to sin. Unless  faith becomes active in our lives we have been deceived and have not been truly "saved." 

Application: If we want to lead others to Christ our lives must be convincing that Jesus is alive. in our lives. Repentance means to "turn around and not go back." If baptism represents the inward change, and the way we live our lives is the outward evidence of the Holy Spirit working in our life, then why aren't we seeing evidence in the lives of those who profess to be Christian? How can we live life WORTHY of our calling? 

Dear Father, help me to submit to be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, to truly turn from my old ways and not look back. Holy Spirit come. To you Father in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.