America seems to be increasing in wickedness against, and irreverence to, the Lord. Today, we tolerate or even accept things that God hates. Our culture seems as if it is becoming more-and-more like what the Bible describes, “because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). But it’s not too late for America yet! We still have time to repent and return to God.
Properly, water baptism is the act of a new believer being briefly dipped (by a fellow follower of Christ) into water and then coming back out of the water. This symbolizes the new creation they have been made through Christ. It is a testament of that individual’s decision to give their life to Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. As such, it is to follow their profession of Jesus as Lord and Savior.
There are some who preach that salvation is by faith in Jesus—but must be predicated with water baptism. They embrace an interpretation that, unless one receives (water) baptism, one cannot be truly saved. Yet, the teaching that baptism is conditional to salvation, or necessary for the finalization of salvation, doesn’t align with Scripture! At its very least, it’s a dangerous teaching that diminishes the finished work of Jesus at Calvary. At its worst, it’s a doctrine that purposefully deceives people, and demeans the gospel message of salvation by grace through faith.
Could these days—with the pandemic scare, partisan division, and civil unrest—be an instrument for revival to occur in our land? Widespread spiritual revival may be closer than we realize if we, as followers of Christ, open our eyes to today’s opportunities.
Jesus is our true peace. Through Him, and only through Him, can anyone be credited as righteous before our heavenly Father. He is our high priest who sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us (cf. Romans 8:34). “And of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33).
People have been, and are, going through disheartening times; struggling with desolation, desperation, or ungodly dependencies. These aren’t distant problems. These things are affecting people we are close to—those in our community and, yes, within our very congregations!
Hardships are bound to come upon every person. Yet, even in trials, sufferings, and hardships; believers can count it all joy, knowing God uses adversities to grow us in dependence on, and intimacy with, Him. The Lord isn’t using life’s trials to break us down, but to build us more into Christlikeness.
“So faith without deeds is dead.” This bold statement by James (2:26) is not contradictory to salvation by grace, it is complimentary to salvation by grace. For, he is telling believers that there will be demonstrated “fruit of grace” that becomes evident after someone is saved by grace, through faith in Christ.