"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"
"redeemed.... with the precious blood of Christ"
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
I don't think there has been any other post that has given me as much joy, as this one has.
Having to catch up on three weeks of Blogging through the alphabet, just LENDS itself to something splendid.
Something so special, it needs multiple words to describe it, yet it won't do it justice.
This week is the week that my eldest daughter, Bethany, came to us and told us that she has trusted the Lord for salvation, and has asked to be baptised.
It was funny how it came about, that she told us. I had been chatting with some online friends about believers baptism versus infant baptism. I proceeded to further discuss it with Robert, when he got home. As the children were gathering for family worship, we had concluded our discussion, so Robert took the opportunity to explain what Paedo-baptism is, and why we believed in baptism of believers, by full immersion.
After family worship, I went off to make dinner for Robert and I, and when I came back through, a teary-eyed Bethany was talking to Robert. He told her to tell me what she had told him.
When Beth was 7, she knelt by her bed and asked God to save her. The only motivation was fear of punishment in hell. Earlier this year, I took Josh and Beth to the baptism of a friend's daughter. By listening to all that was said that night, Beth realised that her prayer, aged 7, was not one of true repentance for sin, only a desire not to be sent to hell. She realised that salvation only comes from true repentance, and an acknowledgement that only Christ, through His shed blood, can save from that punishment for sin. She cried out to God, that night, and asked him to save her. In her words "my tears of sadness turned to tears of joy, as I realised that God had saved me from my sin".
What utter, and sheer joy. My heart was full, and my own eyes filled with tears.
To hear your precious child claim Christ as her Saviour, is a very, very precious thing. Not only is she my daughter, she is my sister in Christ - we are joint heirs with Jesus!
In the coming weeks, we will arrange a baptismal service for her. Then, she will be able to publicly profess her faith in Christ. Baptism will not save her, or sanctify her - it is simply her profession that she is Christ's, and He is her's.
Our prayer is that others will come to a saving faith, through her profession, as the profession of faith of ANOTHER Bethany, earlier this year, brought her to an understanding of her own sinful state before God.
Interestingly, Robert had prayed, with a deacon on Monday, that they would see souls saved in the Church, and that especially the baptistery would be opened and baptisms would take place! How quickly God answered prayer!
If you are reading this post, and you call yourself a Christian, look at the three verses I shared at the beginning, with my Q, R and S. They pretty much sum up the way of salvation.
We are all sinners. Dead, in trespasses and sins. Not dead in body - we are very much alive. Dead in our souls. The Bible says "the wages of sin is death". Our sin has a price. We deserve death. Bethany was right to fear such, because it is what happens, not just to our bodies, but to our souls, if we die in our sin. We will be eternally punished, in hell.
Praise God, that's not the end to it.
We CAN be saved!
The verses make one thing VERY clear, though.
We CAN NOT SAVE OURSELVES.
No-one else can save us, either.
I couldn't save Bethany. I desire that ALL my children will be saved, but I cannot save them.
"What can wash away my sin?"
NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS.
Because God loves us, He sent His one and only, precious Son, who died on a cruel cross, shedding His blood, to save us - quicken - to make alive. Spiritual death, to spiritual life. Redeeming us - paying for our sins, so we belong to Him. Saved - from death, unto life.
It's by grace - that special love which God loves us with - His riches, at Christ's expense - that we are saved.
Washed clean from sin - into new life. Not walking in our old ways, and the ways of the world, but in God's ways, by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life. When we are saved, we are regenerated, by the presence of the Holy Spirit within.
THAT is what has happened in the heart of my precious daughter, and it thrills mine beyond words.
I can only imagine how emotional it will be, the day she is baptised!
I love how the Lord used so many things to shape that moment on Monday. Working over many different occasions, to bring her to Himself.
I think, when we have been saved for a while, we can too quickly forget that immense joy that new life in Christ brings. My heart is full, as I see it afresh, and rejoice, once again, for my own salvation - that Christ has drawn me unto Himself, also.
As the angels in heaven rejoice, over one sinner that has repented, will you not join me, too, and rejoice also? Pray with me, too, that we will see many more souls saved - especially our own family and friends - to the glory of God.
I pray that the Lord will help me to guide her in her new-found faith, and help her to grow closer to Jesus, and that the Lord would use her mightily in the extension of His kingdom.