Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Concepts Are Significant

I wrote the following letter to the editor which appeared in the July 25, 2004 edition of the Tulsa World.

Several recent letters to the editor have raised interesting questions about God's grace, faith in Jesus Christ, and Christian baptism. While the arguments may appear meaningless to anyone relatively unfamiliar with Christianity, each concept has great significance in the lives of people who desire to follow Christ.

Christians recognize the great need of God's grace and forgiveness. We have sinned against God and the people created in his image. We have been selfish, hateful, envious, immoral, rude, arrogant, and self-righteous. We have failed to love our neighbors, our enemies, and our God.

"All have sinned and are not good enough for God's glory, and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ. God gave him as a way to forgive sin through faith in the blood of Jesus' death" (Romans 3:23-25, NCV).

Acknowledging our inability to completely reverse the damage that our sins have inflicted upon others and even ourselves, we need someone to help us out of our messy lives. When Jesus took the full impact of our sins in his death and returned to life, he proved himself capable of handling our flaws.

"But people cannot do any work that will make them right with God. So they must trust in him, who makes even evil people right in his sight. Then God accepts their faith, and that makes them right with him" (Romans 4:5, NCV).

When we entrust our lives to Christ, God gives us a new start to life. At baptism, we mark the end of our lives of guilt, while entering the new life made possible by the grace of God.

"We died to our old sinful lives, so how can we continue living in sin? Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ when we were baptized? We shared his death in our baptism. When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the Father, we also can live a new life" (Romans 6:3-4, NCV).

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