Summary: In the New Testament, the “meaning” of baptism is two-fold: it is a burial to old life and resurrection new! Understanding the second part is no less important than understanding that baptism is for the remission of sins.
Committed to Conversion
Text: Hebrews 10:23 (NASB) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
There is a story you may have heard, about a chicken and a pig. It seems one day that a chicken approached a pig on day out in the barnyard. The chicken says “I have a great idea, let’s open up a breakfast diner!” The pig considered this for a moment and replied, “That does sound like a good idea, what would be on the menu?” The chicken says “Why bacon and eggs of course!” The pig considered this for a moment and says “I don’t think I could do that.” The chicken asks “Why not?” The pig looks at the chicken and says “I’d have to question the level of your commitment.”
The chicken of course would make a contribution with an egg, but the pig would make a commitment to that menu with its life.
Many of us are like the chicken in our approach and attitude towards our lives in Christ, willing to contribute but not commit.
A. And yet the gospel requires commitment of the highest order. Cf. Luke 9:57-62.
Luke 9:62 (NASB) 62But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
B. Obedience without commitment is not really obedience.
Matthew 7:22 - 23 (NASB) “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
1. Consider the serious attitude toward obedience in
Galatians 2:20 (NASB) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
2. We are urged to “count the cost” of discipleship to the Lord - Luke. 14:25-33.
C. When we obey the gospel, seeking the remission of our sins, each step we take must be backed up with genuine commitment.
A. Saving faith is more than believing, it involves a commitment to what we believe -
James 2:19 - 20 (NASB) You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
B. When we say that someone has become “unfaithful” to the gospel, we don’t mean that he has ceased to “believe” that which he previously had “faith” in — we mean that he has violated his previous pledge to live consistently with what he believed.
1. Clearly, our “faith” involves a pledge, a promise, a commitment.
C. “Infidelity” literally means “unbelief” — but at the practical level it means a “breaking of faith,” a betrayal of trust, a going back on one’s commitment to what he believes.
D. To renege on the commitment of our faith is a most serious thing
2 Peter 2:20 - 22 (NASB) 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
A. Genuine repentance involves a commitment to change our ways -
Acts 26:19 - 20 (NASB) 19“So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. .
1. “Repent” — commit to change.
2. “Turn to God” — make the change.
3. “performing deeds appropriate to repentance” — maintain the commitment in practice.
B. In the Bible, repentance is more than a mood, more even than the emotional “feeling” of guilt, sorrow, or remorse for our sins. Even when the sorrow is “godly sorrow,” the state of mind is only that which leads to repentance - 2 Corinthians 7:10.
C. Repentance is a change of the will which leads to a change of conduct. It is a “turning”.
D. To be worth anything, our “turning” to God must be resolute.
E. Apologies are useless if they are not backed up by a commitment to change.