Sunday, April 27, 2008

Baptism: The Sinner's Prayer

Yesterday, I picked up a small religious tract at a local business. At the end of the tract, I read this version of the sinner's prayer:

"Dear God, I know it's true---I've been lost in sin, wandering further and further from You. Please forgive me. I do believe that Jesus died to take my punishment and keep me from being forever lost. Help me to live my life on this earth with hope and faith and courage, as I look forward to the day You take me home to be with You! Amen."

I love the attitude of humility, the exaltation of Jesus, and the dependence upon God expressed in that short prayer. It reminds me of the apostle Peter's words about baptism:

"Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you---not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience---through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21, NASB).

When a sinner is baptized with an attitude of humility, exalting Jesus, and depending upon God, his baptism becomes his prayer---"an appeal to God for a good conscience"(NASB) and "the pledge of a good conscience toward God"(NIV). It becomes a powerful, life-changing moment in his relationship with God. It becomes the sinner's prayer.

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