Baptism and Dying to Self

Baptism and dying to self, is the basic Christian ritual marking the death of our earthly bodies and transforming into a spiritual person living with and for God.  We are submerged into the water (buried) as a dead sinner and then rise  up out of the water (resurrection) newly cleaned and sinless by the blood of Christ.  Our old self is dead and our new self is blameless, but only by the Grace that God has shown us by sacrificing Christ, the Holy Lamb.  Read these verses, below about baptism and the dying of self:

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  Luke 3:3

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”   Luke 9:23-24

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  Romans 6:4

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,and overflowing with thankfulness.  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.  For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.  In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:6-15

 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!Galatians 2:19-21

From just these few scriptures alone, we can gather the powerful message of the cross and washing of the blood of Christ.  We are “born again” with the Holy Spirit living inside us.  Our past is nailed to the cross and is dead.  We have new life, reconciled to our God, the one and only God.  We shall worship no other gods before Him.

(See more about God’s Acceptance)

Love and teach Thy Neighbor

In the Old Testament, the book of Exodus first tells us of the Ten Commandments.  Nearly everyone has heard of these.  However, the book of Leviticus gives us a much greater list of laws of the land.  And then, in the new covenant, explained in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus gave us the 11th commandment to love and teach thy neighbor:

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. ”  John 15:12

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”  Luke 10:25-28

The final Christian truth I will mention in this series is the truth of discipleship, or the teaching part of love and teach thy neighbor.  We are not to keep what we learn to ourselves but to teach to others in love.  We are to teach others what we learn by reading the Bible.  After Christ was crucified, and laid in the tomb, he was risen on the third day.  This is the Easter celebration.  When the apostles met with Jesus for the last time, before He ascended to Heaven He told them:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ”  Matthew 28:18-20

Read more in Basic Christian Truths

Forgive Us Our Sins

Another foundational truth in Christianity is forgiveness.  We pray that God would forgive us our sins, but what specifically does that mean to us?  Pastor Mark Gungor of Celebration Church in Green Bay Wisconsin defines forgiveness thusly:

  • Forgiveness is not an act of any sort and has no physical action
  • Forgiveness is not an emotion that we can feel and share
  • Forgiveness is not an erasure of memory of something that happened
  • To enact forgiveness to someone, you need to say “I forgive you, I will never use it against you in the future, I will never speak of it again to you nor to anyone else, including God”. 

You may still feel hurt, you may remember the event for the rest of your life, but if you speak of it, you have not truly forgiven.

Jesus came to the world in the flesh to be sacrificed so that we could remain blameless in our new lives because we are all sinners and Jesus, who was perfect, shed His blood to wash us clean, or to forgive us our sins.  This is why once we become “born again” we need to stop going back to that time of uncleanliness and worrying about the bad things we did in the past.  It’s over!  You have been cleansed and forgiven!  Now we move on in life and try to sin no more.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ”  John 1:1

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.John 1:14

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”  John 3:16-18

The Lord loved us this much, that He would come to us as a human so that He could do what He didn’t deserve so that we could have what we don’t deserve.  But before He will forgive us our sins, we must be willing to forgive those of us who sin against each other.  Jesus told us this in the Lord’s Prayer.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  Matthew 6:12

Note the word AS in this sentence.  Grammatically, this means that until  the second condition is met, the first action cannot be performed.  So here we see that, as many of His promises are, God’s promise of forgiveness of our sins is conditional for then he goes on to say :

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins“.  Matthew 6:14-15

Not only must we first accept Jesus, but then we must also forgive our brethren.  This is proof that forgiveness is the most important of the basic Christian truths.  Because Jesus preached it.

These Christian truths are continued in “Basic Christian Truths