It seems like every time I read a book of the Bible again in our GodSpeak journey, certain things jump off the page at me. This time, reading Paul’s letters over the last few months, the absolute nature of God’s grace has left me breathless. Grace is, by definition, an undeserved gift. Our position as sinners in a broken creation puts us at a distinct disadvantage in achieving any unity with a perfect, all-powerful God. Time and time again, Paul emphasizes the essential nature of God’s grace expressed through the death and resurrection of Jesus. God came to us. God sacrificed for us. God forgives us. God saves us. We humbly receive, never deluding ourselves into thinking that we had anything to do with it. Yea… breathless.
While it doesn’t get any better than the grace of God expressed though Jesus to make us right with God, I can’t help but to see the grace of God as fundamental to our understanding of who He is every day! One of my favorite songs sung in our African service has the refrain, “He didn’t have to do it, but He did.” Think of all God has done for us that He didn’t have to do. He created this world. He made you. You have food and water. You have shelter. You woke up this morning. He didn’t have to do it, but He did. I can’t help but to open my eyes each morning and say, “Thank you God. My life is a gift from You today. Use this gift for Your purpose.”
It’s the grace of God that makes baptism such a wonderful gift. God chooses to use the most basic element to be the conduit of His grace, water. Water can wash us, and it can also drown us. In baptism, it does both. When the promises of God are attached to this water, it has the power to cleanse the baptized from all sins and bring them into a faith relationship with God. It does that by using the powerful image of us going under the water, and staying there. Under that water, our old sinful self dies, never to rise again. Out of the water is a new, forgiven person, freed from sin and eternal death to live for God. All this is a gift of God’s grace. If we wanted, we could call it gracewater!
These days I wake up on Sunday mornings excited to see all the children in our church. A few months ago it occurred to me how many children in our congregation have not been baptized. An idea was born that will come to fruition later this month on July 24th, Baptism Sunday. With so many children to be baptized, why not see how many we can bring to the gracewater in a single Sunday? Already, a number of baptisms have been arranged for Baptism Sunday in both worship services. Do you know someone who should be baptized? We don’t just baptize children, you know! Use this as your opportunity to have that discussion with someone you know who needs God’s gracewater. By God’s grace, a great number of new names will be written in the Lamb’s book of life! Praise God for His grace!
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” Titus 3:5