Saturday, March 1, 2008

Water baptism

By the grace of God, I underwent water baptism today. Baptism is a church ordinance where a believer publicly identifies with the life and death of Christ and signifies his desire to obey and worship Him. It was a joyful occasion.

This is the three-minute testimony I gave during the occasion. There were 19 of us who were baptized, and each testimony I heard proclaimed God's love, mercy, and grace to undeserving sinners. To GOD alone be all glory, honor, and praise!

Mine is a story of the little Sunday school boy born into a good Christian home. I heard the gospel at a very young age, but came to truly understand it much, much later.

You could say I was a very good boy. I prayed. I went to church. Plus, I did extremely well in class. Externally I was also very moral. I never cursed, hardly violated any school rule, and I was kind, thoughtful, and polite.

Internally, however, I was corrupted. I was reeking with pride, contempt, lust, and hypocrisy. Although I knew practically all the Bible stories that were taught in church and could even conveniently recite them from memory, I had no grasp of the gospel. Although I knew Jesus—the parables He taught, the messages He preached, the promises He gave, the miracles He performed—I really did not know Him on a personal basis. Although I could argue against the false beliefs of other religions, I could not dispute with the wrong beliefs I harbored in my heart. I was, as Paul puts it in Ephesians 2:1–3, dead in trespasses and sins…carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and was by nature a child of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But Christ drew me to Himself.

I could not pinpoint exactly when I actually received Christ as my Lord and Savior; it was probably in my fourth year in high school.

By the grace of God, I came to truly understand who God is. I also realized that man in sinful—by nature and by choice. The just punishment of sin is eternal death in hell. But the good news is that God, by His mercy and grace (and not by any good thing in us or that we have done), provided the means to save us from this death and bring us to Himself. That means is Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, who freely chose to die for sinners like us and be the propitiation for our sins. Christ’s offer of salvation is free and undeserved, and can only be received by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

From a purely human perspective, my conversion was nothing spectacular. And yet, I think it is one of the greatest miracles God has performed. I, a sinner, was radically changed. I became alive in Christ. I found a burning passion and love for God. The things I learned about God in my childhood suddenly became precious truths I held on to. Sunday worship services became the pivotal point of my week. Meditation on God’s word became the most exciting part of my day. Praying became the sweetest chore.

It is with joy incomparable that I say, with Paul (Galatians 2:20), “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me, and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”


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