Dave's newsletter devotion: "I'LL NEVER DO ANYTHING WRONG AGAIN"

Posted by WBFJ | | Posted on 10:47 PM

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2: 8-12

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the baptism of my ten year old nephew. I went to my hometown of Wilkesboro and met up with my family to ride to the river (I know, isn’t it cool?) where he was to be dunked in the good, old fashioned Church of the Brethren way. For the uninitiated, this involves going under three times forward. You get nice and soaked.

When I arrived at my parents’ house he met me in the driveway with a hug. On our way into the house I had the chance to ask him what he thought baptism was about and what it symbolizes. For a ten year old, I have to say that he answered pretty well. He told me that it meant that he had asked Jesus into his heart and that he was being baptized to show everyone. As my spirit, heart, and mind were taken up to heavenly places because he understood this and had made this decision, I came back down to earth just a little with his next statement which was, “and it means I’ll never do anything wrong again.”

Okay, so he doesn’t have it all together at age ten. I’m considerably older than that and neither do I. But I do know that the statement he made comes from a philosophy that never ceases to creep into the theology of our churches and our culture. We’re taught, sometimes innocently and from naïvely, that we have to be good enough to earn salvation. We have to clean ourselves up before we go to God. And then when we get good and ready enough to be saved we have to do our very best to maintain it or God will take it away. This is what is known as heresy.

Ephesians 2: 8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” That takes care of the earning part of salvation. It can’t be done. As for the keeping part, Philippians 1: 6 says that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” See that? HE does it. Not you or me. Because Christ offers love, kindness and grace that we don’t deserve, we respond in love. It’s His love that makes us want to turn away from our sins and to repent of them when we still fall short (even after we give our lives to Him). If we turn from sin just because we have to we won’t be successful. We’ll be defeated. But we can be confident that we have a high priest who can identify with every weakness we have and was tempted to sin but didn’t, which makes Him exactly what we need to stand before God when we find ourselves caught up in sin yet again, according to Hebrews 4. In verse 16 it says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” We can approach the throne with confidence because we’ve trusted Christ. The times of need come because we’re still human and not perfect yet.

So when my nephew made his statement I had the chance to gently correct him so that he won’t labor under the false assumption that he’ll lose his standing with God the next time he slips up and sins. It was pretty good news to him!

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