Sometimes I think about…. What if aliens came down from space or out of another dimension or something… (not that I believe in aliens…just hypothetically speaking)? I wonder how they would look at humanity with their fresh, enormous, buggy eyes. What would be their impression? I assume they would begin drawing conclusions about us based on what we do and say… So, what do people say? What do people do?
A few years ago, God really opened my eyes to the concept of Baptism. We were living in Colorado at the time, and the church we attended there held a Baptism service in the pond outside the sanctuary…and I remember thinking “What is that?” I mean…I knew what they were doing obviously, but it occurred to me that I didn’t know what it meant. Why in the world would Jesus command us to Baptize people? Then I heard a teaching that said Baptism is a picture of death and resurrection. The Scriptures say in Romans 6 that when we accept Christ, we are “baptized into his death”…and that our old self was crucified with Him “in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no loner be enslaved to sin.” So, when we go under the water it’s a symbol of dying to our old selves and being buried …then when we come back out of the water, it symbolizes our resurrection into a new life IN Christ. So, if that’s what happens when we accept Christ…then why do so many Christians continue to identify with their sin…their old selves? I don’t know if it’s really a conscious thing…I tend to think it’s more subconscious these days. But, I know this to have been true at certain points in my life…and based on my conversations with other believers…I don’t think it’s uncommon. Even after we accept Christ, some of us still continue to identify ourselves as “sinners”.
A.W. Tozer said “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I was counseling with an older wiser brother not too long ago…and he asked me that question – “How do you see God when it comes to your past sins?” I thought about it – and the picture that came to mind was God forgiving me…and even opening His arms to me…but he was still holding my sin in His hands. He wasn’t showing it to me or putting it in my face or anything…but, I knew it was there. It’s like He was keeping it there…ready to pull it out the next time I sinned so I could feel doubly bad about it. It occurred to me…that’s actually not a Scriptural view of God and forgiveness. The way God describes forgiveness is this way – “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103). But, it doesn’t always feel that way. When you fall…you sin… you usually feel like saying “I am a ________” (insert whatever the thing is that you just did). So, now our view of ourselves has shifted. We are now “sinners”. And…God hates sin. …so, it sorta feels like maybe God isn’t too fond of me….Maybe he even hates me…. This is the rabbit trail we get on…and suddenly we find ourselves with this view of God that is completely different than the way He describes Himself in Scripture…and a view of ourselves that is completely different than the way God says He views us.
Pastor Jerimy is wrapping up the “Beloved” series this week on the gospel of John. I’ve really enjoyed this series. John got it… I’ve always thought it was sort of hilarious that John always referred to himself in his gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. John operated from that place. It’s how he identified himself. I am the one Jesus LOVES! If you believe that, it will affect every decision you make in your life. It’ll affect the way you think…and even talk. It’s true in the other direction also though… But, we have this choice to make… Are we going to believe what God says about Himself and about us or not? What comes into your mind when you think about God?