A Changed Life
At the moment of baptism, our physical appearance is not altered, except for becoming wet, but our spiritual condition is changed dramatically. In our baptism, we are rendering obedience to the conditions given by God that are essential for salvation. Our baptism is an appeal to God for a good conscience and our trust in His power to wash away all of our sin. Baptism is the beginning of a lifelong process of becoming more like our Savior on a daily basis. What does this changed life look like in the coming days, months, and years?
When we became a Christian we answered the call to live a holy life in the midst of a crooked generation. The apostle Paul admonished the brethren in Philippi – “15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,” (2:15). This has always been the expectation of God for His followers. The Lord commanded Israel – “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2b). The Lord also commands Christians – “15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;” (1 Peter 1:15). We cannot neglect this great command of God, but rather it must be the leading cause of every decision in our daily lives.
When we became a Christian we were called to live no longer to our flesh, but rather to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The fruit of the Spirit requires of each Christian diligence and devotion to the will of God. The apostle Paul defined the fruit of the Spirt by the following characteristics – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” If we desire to bear the fruit of the Spirit, we must share in each of these nine qualities. We cannot become proficient in a few and neglect the others, but rather we are called those who live according to each of these nine characteristics. The apostle Paul concluded this list with a promise to all who live according to them – “…against such things there is no law” (5:23b). If our lives manifest these qualities, then we have lived as desired by our God and He will reward us in the end.
When we became a Christian we were called to become workers of good deeds. The grace of God which brought salvation to all men, purified to God a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:11, 14). Our good deeds will not be determined by man’s definition of “good,” but rather are divinely given to us through God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The apostle Paul captures this close association of good works and the word in his epistle to the Colossians – “10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (1:10). If we desire to do good works, which are pleasing to the Father, then we must keep our heads in the Bible.
Finally, when we became a Christian we were called to become soul winners for our Savior. If we are willing to live holy lives, bear the fruit of the Spirit, and be workers of good deeds, then why would we not be willing to share the gospel with others? The apostle Paul wrote – “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Are we willing to share in Paul’s example and not be ashamed of the gospel? The wise Solomon wrote – “30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls” (Proverbs 11:30). We may never be able to climb Mount Everest or become world travelers, but if we are willing to proclaim the gospel to our family and friends, then our lives will be filled with the greatest of treasures! The gospel must be taught, to be heard, to be believed, and to be obeyed – How are we doing in helping others to seek and find the Light of this World?
Our lives are dramatically changed at the moment of our baptism. We are no longer dead in our sins, but we have been made alive with Christ. What will we do with this new lease on life through the gospel of Jesus Christ? The expectations of our Savior are clear and simple. We are called to live holy lives because He is holy. We are to bear the fruit of the Spirit. We are expected to be a people zealous for good works. Finally, we are needed to take the gospel to a lost and dying world. May God bless us in our efforts to become more like our Savior!