Before you begin I know that “You can please some people some of the time but not everyone any of the time” (unknown), so let me tell you why I feel this writing is important.
In Exodus 20:2-17 God gave Moses the Ten Commandments saying what to do and what not to do. They were very clear – Have no other gods before me; do not kill, do not slander, do not covet, do not lie, do not steal, etc. etc. Basic common sense commands according to the Creator.
In fact back in Exodus 15:26 – He (God) said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
But don’t let me get ahead of myself what really matters is what God said. Case closed.
Down the road in time man began creating religions with traditions and practices that were not always consistent with God’s commands or the law of nature. Religion has its own rules.
I try not to be a religious person, but a follower of Jesus.
Man has one huge flaw and that is his sinful nature. God knew that even before he created Adam and that is why he sent his son Jesus to pay the price for sin, once and for all, on that cross on Calvary.
Jesus was born of a virgin (Mary) and lived a sinless life. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day and then ascended to the right hand of the Father as our intercessor (for those who are saved).
Jesus told us to believe he was who he said he was (God), recognize we have sinned, and ask him to forgive us of our sin, and then turn away from sin and follow him.
How do we do that?
First only God can change a sinful heart through conviction by the Holy Spirit.
We must recognize that we have sinned.
We must repent of our sin and ask God for forgiveness.
We must believe God has heard our prayer.
We must forgive others as God has forgiven us and we must love one another (love our neighbor as we love ourselves – Mark 12:30-31).
Forgiveness is not from anything we have done or can do or think or speak.
Forgiveness is freely given by the grace of God, to all who ask.
Baptism is publically declaring your commitment at becoming a new creation, a follower of Jesus Christ and symbolizes the casting off the old nature and exhibits a new beginning (my words).
Religion tends to insert or inject itself between what God has commanded and man.
I mean man must satisfy the “law” of religion in order to be “cleansed” of sin – say a traditional prayer, invoke the name of sinful men and women and do it enough times and you are “forgiven” this time. Religion becomes the “authority” of God to keep man compliant and subservient to the “church”.
This attitude of “do as I say, not as I do” spills over into every area of our lives when we do what we feel is best, rather than measuring our actions, words or deeds against what God said. Often what the “church” says drowns out what God said. – I am the Real Truckmaster!