Thursday, September 5, 2013

Just Jesus

September 5, 2013

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
" Ephesians 2:8

"We're going to be Baptized in the river on Sunday!" my
two oldest daughters explained with much excitement to our neighbor. "That's wonderful!" she replied. But as my children ran off to play, the dialog which continued between my neighbor and me filled my heart with sorrow.

"At our church," my neighbor began, "we believe all people are born with original sin stemming from Adam and Eve."

"I couldn't agree more," I replied.

"And," my neighbor continued, "we believe Baptism washes away that sin."

"Oh, no," I thought to myself.

I think my neighbor could see the concern on my face because she continued, "Oh yes, that is why we sprinkle children with water as infants, you know . . .  just in case something happens."

Yes, I do know. I've buried an infant.

My neighbor continued, "Then when children turn twelve we Baptize them again and then they're set . . . "

What stirred my heart was not necessarily the method of Baptism discussed but rather the method of salvation implied.

Travel the Romans road with me for a moment.

Romans 3:23 tells us that "everyone has sinned." Romans 6:23 tells us that "the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."
Detour to Hebrews 9:22 and we find that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin."

In the Old Testament God required animal sacrifices as atonement for sin. Why the shedding of blood from an innocent animal? To foreshadow the shedding of blood from an innocent Man. But Old Testament sacrifices only provided temporary covering for sin; that is why animal sacrifices were repeated year after year. Skip forward to the New Testament. Jesus' death on the cross put an end to the sacrificial system. Jesus was (is) God's Perfect Lamb. Jesus died, shed His blood once for all time for all sin (Hebrews 9:28). We receive forgiveness of sin by recognizing and professing that Jesus died for our sin.

My surviving twin daughter recently asked me how her late sister entered into Heaven if she was not old enough to profess Jesus as her Savior. {I love young minds, don't you?!?} I explained to my daughter that while Scripture does not explicitly address the Salvation of infants I do know that God is good. I know that in Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me." I know that David, whom Scripture identifies as "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22) once said of his own deceased child, "I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me" (2 Samuel 12:23). I believe with everything in me that my daughter is alive and well with Jesus even though we chose not to sprinkle her with water before her death.

I write not to condemn other belief systems but to share great news! Salvation is not up to us. As one woman who paints masterpieces with her words, Ann Voskamp, wrote in a recent blog, "Your sins aren’t enough to separate you – and your strengths aren’t enough to save you." It is up to Jesus. Jesus proved faithful 2000 years ago. It's done. In His words, "It is finished" (John 19:30). The only action required on your part is to believe in the One God sent (John 6:29).

It isn't the sprinkling of water. It's Jesus.

It isn't submersion in water. It's Jesus.

It isn't good deeds.

It isn't being good enough.

It isn't the right pedigree.

It's just Jesus.

1 comment:

Jason hander said...

It's funny you talk about what I said yesterday Jenny, "It is Finished." The most Powerful words ever spoken and what changed everything from that moment forward. :)
Loved the message today.