Crossreads.com Devotion Put Off the Old Self

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Baptismal font https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Baptism

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1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;
2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
John 3:1-5 (NASB)

The baptism of a believer is an outward sign of the inward change that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This baptism of spirit comes when we accept the sacrifice of Christ and openly declare Him as our savior and salvation from sin. The act of the water being poured, sprinkled, or if a person is dunked is not what makes it so we can enter the kingdom of God. The change in our heart where the baptism of the spirit is what makes it so we can enter into the kingdom of God. If this change is not within our heart, no confessing with our mouth, no outward activity, no effort on our part will open the narrow gate of salvation that passes through the Son of God, Jesus, the Christ.

Further, it is not the actual change of the heart that enables us to enter into the kingdom of God. No act, no action, thing work performed by us can open the doorway. It is the fact that God came to Earth and took the form of a human being, was accused of crimes He didn’t commit and was ultimately executed for them, and then rose from the dead to rise and sit at the right hand of God. This act by Jesus alone is what atones for any wrongs we have committed against God. This act alone, a work started and completed by God Himself as Jesus on Earth, is what creates for us a path to Heaven. Our understanding within our heart that we needed this done by Jesus, our honest, heart-felt acceptance of this fact, is the change of the heart spoken of.

The shift of a person’s heart is not something you or I can see from the outside. The truth or falsehood of someone’s verbal confession of Jesus as the Christ carries with it absolutely we can physically see just by looking at a person. We are forced to accept the verbal confession of this fact as truth, just as your verbal confession should be accepted by those you encounter.

Ah, but what people can see, what people do see, are the fruits of our behaviors from that point forward. Confess with your mouth the savior Jesus Christ, and live with your heart the truth of that statement. Do this and you will no longer wonder if you have the Spirit because those around you will tell you that you do.

For Further Study and Action

  • Research the Sacrament of Baptism through online sources, books you have (or purchase), or via personal conversations with servants at your church
  • If you have not been baptized consider it but only if you have accepted Jesus into your heart
  • If you were baptized sometime in the past, consider a reaffirmation ceremony formally as an outward sign of the New Self you are striving for

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