Reading Reflecting Responding
(Summary – Reflection- Prayer)
God’s Word while Walking it Out
Context: Mark 1: 1-8
Focus: Matthew 28: 2-3
“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
John the Baptist was the forerunner to Christ’s salvation, making a path of repentance to receiving Him as Savior and Lord. He told many to repent of their sins and be baptized as a sign they had turned to God for forgiveness. But John was also a witness who identified Him, pointing Him out, saying “someone is coming who is greater than I am and I’m not even worthy to stoop down and untie the straps of his sandals.” He said he baptized with water but the One Who would follow him would baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit.
Baptism can save no one. It is meant to be a witness and sign of repentance and a confession of faith in Jesus Christ. It represents being made clean and made righteous through the confession of faith in Jesus Christ. But unfortunately, some churches teach it is necessary for salvation. But just like circumcision only marked those who were in the Jewish faith, so it is with baptism. For it is not through circumcision nor baptism that sets a person apart for God’s plan of salvation, but the circumcision of the heart- sincere repentance. Many received the Holy Spirit after confessing their faith in Jesus Christ, and then were baptized, and others received the infilling of the Holy Spirit upon water baptism. But what prepares the way of receiving the promised Holy Spirit is not a ritual but a sincere repentant heart accepting the gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection. If you don’t recognize you sin, then how can you recognize the need of a Savior who forgives all? So the heart must be laid bare, no obstacle in the way, no pride holding on to self-righteousness. (Romans 2: 25-29, Acts 10: 44-48, Matthew 3: 1-11)
When I believed in Jesus Christ as a child of twelve years I received the Holy Spirit promised to all who believe the gospel message. It was not until later that I was baptized in His Name. It was out of an act of obedience that I was baptized because the Lord commands it to identify us as followers of Christ and follow Him in service. The thief on the cross was not baptized, for it was impossible to do so, yet he was promised eternal life. Just as partaking of Holy Communion does not mean you are saved, but is a reminder of what Christ has done for those who believe, water baptism signifies we have been made clean by obeying the Word to believe. We are baptized not unto a church or doctrine but baptized unto the Lord, in every way. ( John 3:16, Luke 23: 39-43, )
Prayer: Lord, thank you for first showing us we sin through knowledge of your law, and without the law through faith in the death and resurrection of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, we receive your salvation through acknowledging our need for Him with a repentant heart.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2: 8-10