One reason we have baptisms is to display outwardly, for others to see, our embracing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Mark 16:16 says:
“He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
I thought all I had to do was call on the name of Jesus to be saved?
True…but being baptized is in obedience to God’s Word.
Being baptized is part of “calling on the name of Jesus.”
Witness what Acts 22:16 says:
“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
It not only shows your obedience to God’s Word, but it’s also a public display of your faith in Christ.
That’s great. Now you are a child of God.
Maybe people see your walk with Christ … and maybe they don’t.
This is your outward appearance.
What about your inward appearance?
The one that defines who you are as a Christian?
Nothing Is Hidden From God
We can put on a “Christian” front and address others as “brother” and “sister” all day long … but how do you REALLY appear to the Lord?
- Do you get into the Word?
- Do you get into prayer?
- Does the spirit of God’s love reside in you?
- Do you ask the Holy Spirit to renew and refresh you daily?
Yes, you were baptized outwardly once, but it does not end there.
Are you being baptized – inside – daily in your walk with the Lord?
Is your inner being washed daily by the blood of the Lamb?
Here’s the $64,000 question.
Does your inward appearance that nobody sees but God …
… match your outward Christian appearance that everyone else sees?
There is nothing that can be hidden from God.
Hebrews 4:13 says:
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
And yet, we try to fool Him.
We try to hide our lukewarm Christianity from Him.
I speak from experience.
I try to fool God with my attitude, with my prayer life, with my “Christian excuses.”
What’s Your Favorite Christian ‘Excuse Card’?
There’s a deck of cards we believers sometimes use.
I refer to them as the “Christian Excuse Cards.”
Like a skilled card sharp, I’ve played the “I’m A Work In Progress Card” until it’s been worn out.
The “I Fall Short Card,” the “Judge Not Card,” the “I’ll Pray Tomorrow Card” and the “I’m Still Growing Card” will never beat the winning hand God holds.
His cards all say “Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
I have played the “Spirit Is Willing But the Flesh is Weak Card” more than I care to remember.
I can’t use the “God Made Me This Way Card” or the “That’s Who I Am Card” anymore since the Holy Spirit ripped them up.
I have caught myself playing the “Righteous Anger Card” in moments of unrighteous anger.
My favorites are the “Hey, Nobody’s Perfect Card” and the “Lord, I’ll Do Better Next Time Card.”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 says:
“For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”
We are, after all, so good at fooling ourselves and others.
You don’t have to be pious like the Pharisees and Sadducees, looking all religious so people can marvel at your faith.
There are many people who profess to be Christians but are dead on the inside when it comes to a vibrant life in Christ.
Jesus says in Matthew 23:27:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”
I just hate it when He’s talking about me.
On the outside, I look like a poster child for Evangelical Living…
But on the inside, I rattle with dead men’s bones.
Many times God has had to stop me in my tracks and say, “Woe to you, Ani,” to wake me up.
I’m just a sinner saved by the mighty love, mercy, and grace of Jesus.
Yes, I play the “Forgiveness Card” a lot, too!
Fact: Jesus died on the cross in my place so that the price of my sins would be paid for in full, once and for all … forgiven for all eternity.
And yet, deep inside, I forget that sometimes.
- I forget the Father’s love for me is so great He said, Ani, my Son will take your place on the cross. And He says that to you … and you … and, well, anyone who will listen.
- I forget His magnificent sacrificial love for me and the new life He gave me.
- I forget that His love came with a price I could never repay.
- I forget that His love for me is worth every sacrifice, every moment of obedience, every prayer said and meant, every time I drop to my knees just to call on the name of Jesus.
- I forget He listens to me and is there when I cry for help.
- I forget He truly is my answer in life and mankind’s answer for all eternity.
Yes, I forget that my awesome outward appearance means nothing to God if, on the inside, I am nothing more than a whitewashed tomb full of dead men’s bones.
I forget a lot of things.
I honestly have no excuse.
So I will endeavor to make my inner appearance match my outer appearance by:
- Never forgetting what Jesus did for me.
- Never forgetting that Jesus loves me more than I can ever love another.
- Never forgetting how I need to run the race to win the prize, as Paul so eloquently and simply put our Christian walk.
- Never forgetting how to say, “Jesus, I am truly blessed You are my Lord and Savior!”
I am not happy when I sin, and I am glad for that because it means the Holy Spirit, although grieved at my sinning, has not abandoned me.
What is truly a miracle is how God continues not only to put up with me but use me for his Kingdom building.
Fact: Mercy is God not punishing us as our sins deserve, and grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it.
Grace and mercy are the twin pillars of God’s love for you.
Let us all remember that next time we dare forget what He’s done for us.
The only card in the deck of life I want to play is the “Thank you, Jesus” Card.