I was Baptised today. :)
I went through the process of Baptism in the Spring of 1995. Yet over the last two years I've been asking myself was I actually saved then. I had been asking the wrong person. God answered today as I listened to Exodus.
Before I was "dunked" in Porter's Lake I was asked 4 questions. What where you like before you were saved, what brought you to Salvation, what has your life been like since, and what do you expect your life to be like in the future.
I was a hypocrite - playing the part of a religious man.
God exposed my hypocrisy, and left nowhere else but Him to run to and that was 2 years ago today I believe - strange eh?
My life since Sunday, 26 Sept 2005 when God took my repentant heart and saved it, has been crazy. It's been a ride, my faith has been stretched to the limit. But He has kept me.
What do I expect of the future? I don't know. I know only that one day I will stand face to face with the Lord in Glory - and know as I have been known.
So what in Exodus brought me to this? Well the debate was - was I really saved back then? I had no "fruit".. I lived in deep sin... I was horrible to people.. I did not love.. I had no concern for the Salvation of others. But I had prayed a little prayer... I had thought I was "saved" even though I had no idea what it meant. Today God revealed that no I was not saved - I had not repented and put my faith in Christ alone.
Here is the section of Scripture that He used to show me this today - just an hour before our Church was to have a Baptismal Service. I was out for a jog listening to Exodus when Chapter 4 came God silenced the rest of the world so I could listen to it.
1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’”
2 So the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”He said, “A rod.”
3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.
4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand),
5 “that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
6 Furthermore the LORD said to him, “Now put your hand in your bosom.” And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow.
7 And He said, “Put your hand in your bosom again.” So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh.
8 “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign.
9 And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river[a] and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”
10 Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
11 So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?
12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
14 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: "Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
15 Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.
16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.
17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”
God took the thing that Moses used to get the most out of his own strength - his walking stick (the rod), and showed Moses that his reliance on it was sin by turning it into a snake. God asked Moses what it was - Moses was ignorant to what it really was and God showed him. Moses was fearful of the snake - but God say take it by the tail and when Moses did it became a rod again. Now it was a rod of God's strength.
God then made what He was showing Moses even more clear by having him reach into his heart, then pull his hand out to see the disease of sin that was in there, and God then showed him the that He had cleaned it!
Then God told Moses that he must do this sign in Egypt. Moses didn't think he was able that God should send Aaron instead. But God was about to really show Moses what He meant by the rod becoming a snake and then a rod again. It is by God's strength that Moses did go to Egypt to lead His people out of captivity. It is by God's strength that even today Moses - through the Law - shows us the true nature of our hearts so that we will know we must rely on God and not ourselves.
As I was listening I was asking God to make this clear - why was it so important to me I wanted to know. He spoke, in the way only He can, that this is what I had never done before two years ago. I had never reached into my heart to see it's diseased state, I had not thrown down the reliance I had on myself and started to rely on Him. I hadn't pulled my hand out of my chest to see it clean. In short, I hadn't repented and put my faith in Him until just two years ago.
So, my baptism in the Spring of 1995 was an act of religion and not faith. It was not real. I got home from my jog, and my wife from her run (cause she is FAST!) and we sped off to the service which we had thought of going to watch - but now I had an appointment and a purpose to be there. Just like Moses had to go perform this sign in Egypt I had to go perform this sign in Porter's Lake. I had to get Baptised for real, to proclaim that I am in His death and I am in His resurrection!
And that's why I got Baptised again today.
UPDATE: My dear old friend (lol) and Brother in the Lord who has a really cool first name sent this along through email. He is in a different country right now and we have only been able to connect in person once in the last few years - to explain some of his wording. This e-mail has been edited to remove some personal details. I personally like the part where he says to "keep kicking butt" ;)
just a quick note to say hi and congratulate you on your public profession of faith. I stop by your blog occasionally and have been very happy to see the progress you have made. I have seen you go a little offline at times aka secondary filling, but do great work in your defense of the Gospel ( The Cross less issue). I will state one thing though and as per normal you know I am terrible at trying to say things without sounding belligerent.
Your statement on not being saved before 25 Sep 2005 is to put it quite simply, ludicrous. At what point did you think the ‘quality’ of your conversion had anything to do with the meritless gift of salvation bestowed upon a believer. Have you given up on individual versus corporate election, with God providing enough volition to ensure responsibility (soft determinism)? Or did you decide that this time you really repented so therefore merited being saved? That sounds like a ‘religious experience’ but it doesn’t jive with what you have written to date or advice you have given others. I have seen people saved who’s lives that instant were different and others that took time for the Spirit to work, but none the less in time they were transformed. I have just looked at some emails from you from years ago and remembered some of our conversations and you most certainly were a Christian. Not a fruitful one for sure as you continued to ignore the Spirit and live separated from the Father due to Sin in your life. Do you honestly think that before Sep 2005 your prayers were not being heard? The Lord put you in a position to face the consequences of your actions and via the process you have learned about repentance and the necessity to be repentant in order to maintain your walk. I sincerely believe you have confused salvation with your preparation for Discipleship, two separate things as you well know. Looking at one of your very old emails, your worry about witnessing effectively still makes me smile – you were always so hard on yourself. Kevin it is wonderful that you are in a position to be of service for the Lord and you are doing great. Please do not let this email be a bummer for you, it’s just an observation and you can do with it what you do wish.Keep kicking butt bro, I believe the Lord has a purpose for you and you are well on your way!
It's not often I receive such an encouraging letter. Brother Kevin makes some very good points.. and brings up an issue that has been of interest to me recently - Election.
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