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Baptism – A Spiritual Work

Baptism – A Spiritual Work

As we continue our walk through Romans, we’re seeing how God deals with sin in our lives. In my last post, I started talking about baptism. It’s the first step in our freedom from sin and its affects.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:3-4

I ended my last post by saying that baptism is a spiritual work. Let me get into more detail.

This passage tells us that not only were we immersed into the death of Christ, but we were buried together with Him. Please understand, this isn’t just a mental identification with Christ.

The verse says that I WAS buried with Him. That has to have been a spiritual work. However, it gets better as we continue in the verse.

The phrase, just as, literally means exactly like. So, the glory that God used in raising Christ Jesus from the dead, was used in exactly the same way at my baptism.

The glory of the Father raised me up from death to enter a new life. I rise up with new life exactly like someone who has been raised from the dead.

This is key in understanding God’s work of salvation in us. It’s more than just reciting a prayer and receiving an initiation rite into church membership. We’re talking about a powerful spiritual work that’s being done in us.

Listen to how Paul describes it elsewhere.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Romans 8:11

In my last post I said that there was a spiritual work being done in our baptism that we needed to attach our faith to. Here it is.

I cannot see my baptism as a one-time occurrence. On the contrary, it was the beginning of an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in me.

By faith I can look back on my baptism and say, “Up until that day, I was living in death. Then, on the day of my baptism, I was raised from the dead. I now have the life of Christ in me by the power of His Holy Spirit.”

Understand what I’m saying. I was saved when I put my faith in Christ and prayed the sinner’s prayer. But, until the day of my baptism, I hadn’t yet placed a faith-demand upon God for victory over my sin nature.

The question is; did I know any of this when I was water baptized so many years ago? No, I didn’t. But I know it now and I can release my faith to receive the benefits of it. You can too.

If you haven’t been water baptized when you were old enough to accept it on your own, let me encourage you to seek it out. You won’t be sorry. Use it, not as a church tradition, but as a springboard to new life by faith.

Question: What was your life-changing experience in baptism?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2021 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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A New Reality

ButterflyIn my last post I started talking about what happens when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It all started with a simple prayer and our trust in Him.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10

In that moment when you accepted the work of Christ, a supernatural, miraculous work took place in you. In my last post I said that all of us were born onto a path that led to death. There were no exits and no way for us to turn around.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

But when you received the life-changing work of Christ, something you had no access to was suddenly opened up to you. There’s a second path; one that leads directly to life.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
John 5:24

In the Spirit, the Lord picked you up from the path leading to death and He placed your feet firmly on the path leading to life. It’s just like a computer game that my children used to play years ago. It was called Rollercoaster Tycoon.

In that game they would build an amusement park with rides that the virtual gusts would be excited about. But as my children watched the people in the park, it became clear that there were sections of it that nobody went to. In order to remedy the situation, the game had a claw that would pick up a guest at one end of the park, and place them in another section.

That’s what happened to us in the spirit. God picked us up from the path of death and placed us on the path of life.

In Christ, you didn’t just “turn over a new leaf.” You’re not just trying harder. You’re in a whole new reality. You’re in a new place on a new path with a new direction. You’re not the same person you were only a moment ago. Everything has changed.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Now we’ve been given a totally new way of life. That’s why the world should see something different in us. We’re no longer headed in the same direction as everybody else.

Question: How is living in God’s Kingdom different than living for the world?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Faith, Power of God, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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How to Turn Dirt into a Garden

Flower GardenIn my last post I started a “dirt” theme. I talked about a verse in James that tells us how to bring about the changes we need in our lives.

Today I want to ask a related question. How do you turn plain old dirt into a beautiful garden? James tells us the answer a few verses before the one we looked at last time.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
James 1:18

The answer to our question comes with the realization that the difference between dirt and a garden is the seed that’s planted. You put the seed into the dirt, water them, and all by themselves the flowers grow.

At some point a transformation takes place. There’s a change from a patch of dirt to a garden. Even though the dirt is still there, people will say, “Look at the wonderful flowers.” I’ve never walked by someone’s garden and said, “Hey, that’s really great dirt.”

In the last post we were told by James that in order to remove the evil in us, we need to humbly accept the Word planted in us. That’s what I’m talking about. Today’s verse tells us that the Lord gave us new birth through the Word. It’s the Word of God that breathes new life into us.

He wants us to be a kind of firstfruits for His glory. Farms go through the same transformation that a garden does. It starts out as dirt, but the emphasis changes to tomatoes, wheat or whatever was planted.

“Who cares about the dirt; look at all those watermelons!”

It’s the same way in our lives. As we allow the Word of God to take root in us, people no longer emphasize the “dirt” that we’re dealing with. It’s the fruit of the Spirit that catches their attention. As I accept the seed of the Word into my heart, it can transform my life. Instead of dirt, I’m now considered firstfruits to God.

This is actually a humbling experience. When the focus turns to the fruit, it no longer has anything to do with us. After all, the dirt has nothing to do with what kind of plant is grown. That’s determined by the seed.

When people see the fruit of the Spirit in us, it’s all the work of God. The humbling admission is that I’m nothing, just a patch of dirt, without His Word in me.

Allow the life transforming Word of God to change you into firstfruits for His glory.

Question: How has the Word of God transformed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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