Baptism

1 Mar

Got baptised last night. Here’s what I had to say:

When people ask how I became a Christian, on one level, I’m not quite sure. I was blessed to grow up in a home with parents who made sure that the Bible and the truth of the gospel was never far away, and I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t believe that I was a sinner, that God had every right to punish me and yet that he wouldn’t because Jesus had taken my place on the cross. Having said that, I do distinctly remember praying “the prayer” asking God to make me a Christian every time I was invited to at a young age, and I guess I probably was saved from quite early on, even if I didn’t fully grasp all the implications for my life.

Life trundled on and for a long time, especially as a teenager, although I didn’t have any extreme moments of rebellion, there were plenty of things in my life which didn’t commend the gospel to others. There were I think two different Toms depending on the situation. At church I was respectable Tom, always doing what I was told, and always giving the right answers in Sunday school or youth group. Then there was the other Tom at school and with my non-Christian friends. I was often militantly evangelistic, telling everyone they needed to be a Christian and they were going to hell etc with very little grace or compassion. And at the same time the difference between what I said and what I did left me open to justifiable accusations of hypocrisy.

As I’ve grown older and matured, learning how to live as a Christian in every area of life has been a slow process and it’s one that will undoubtedly continue until I die. But God is gracious, and while I still have a long way to go, I am assured that he is at work in me to make me more like Jesus.

My three years in Cardiff have been a time of huge spiritual realignment, not least as I have been forced to defend what I believe more than ever before. Yet by God’s grace I remain convinced of the reality of the death and resurrection of Christ. I came to Cardiff feeling pretty sorted about God etc – probably with a sense of pride that I came from a respectable Church, believed all the right things and I was convinced I would come along and impart my wisdom and sort everyone else out. How wrong I was. My time on the Christian Union committee was so valuable in shaping my understanding of what it means for Christians to be united for the sake of the Gospel.

So while I’m not sure of times and dates, I am absolutely sure that Christ died for me and that now my future with him is secure for eternity. The challenges, disappointments and joys of life have only convinced me further that I belong to a sovereign God who works out all things for his glory and the good of his people. With this in mind, I am being baptised today as a symbol of my life being united with Christ as I look forward to eternity. As Paul says… “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

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