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 My Baptism Testimony

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Michael
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PostSubject: My Baptism Testimony   Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:07 pm

Some of you may know, and some not, that I was recently baptized. Actually, it was just two weeks ago. Since I didn't get to share this with you all then, I wanted to share my testimony with you now. So, here it is:

On January 22, 1973, a controversial decision in the landmark Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Case, abortion was deemed a fundamental right under the United States Constitution. Since that time, itís been estimated that 40 million American children have been killed in the name of womenís rights.

Iím not here to talk about abortion today. But, I am here to talk about Godís grace. Please bear with me as I explain.

I was born on March 8, 1978, a little over five years since the Roe v. Wade decision. For whatever reason, my biological mother decided she wasnít going to raise me. She could have decided to abort me, but God had a plan for me. I hadnít done anything that would earn life. Thatís grace

In May of 1979, at the age of 14 months, God sent two of the most loving people Iíve ever met to adopt me from the adoption agency I was in the care of. Again, I didnít choose them, they chose me. Again, Godís grace.

I was raised in an Apostolic church. I didnít know much about sin, the gospel or even what baptism was, but I knew one thing for sure. I wanted to sing on the choir. The only way I could sing on the choir was to be a member. The only way to become a member was to be baptized. So, thatís what I did. I got baptized with no real understanding of what the call to Christ really meant and how to live after being called. Iím not sure if I even understood that there was a call. I was 12 years old at the time. Was I saved? Looking back on it now, my answer would be a resounding no. But, I was on the choir and thatís what mattered to me.

From the age of 12 to about 19 or 20, I was a faithful member of the church. I was involved in all sorts of activities. But, I started straying away from the church as the sinfulness within me was drawing me away into all sorts of lust and sinful living. I could sit and recount all of my endeavors in the world, but itís best summed up in Ephesians 2.

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedienceó3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (ESV)

I was spiritually dead in my trespasses and sins. That was my normal course of life. Unbeknownst to me, there was a tremendous weight of sin resting upon me. Godís wrath was abiding upon me. He was angry with me because of my willful disobedience. Yes, I had free will, but that free will ONLY sought evil, because it was dominated by a heart that was desperately wicked and deceitful above all things, and it had been that way since my youth. I was His active enemy, living in the passions of my flesh, carrying out the desires of my body and my mind. I wasnít His child, I was a child destined for wrath because of my sin, just like every other person in the world.

But hereís the part that changed it all:

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christóby grace you have been savedó6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

ďBut GodĒ might be two of the most important and most passionate words I have ever read in the Bible. But God! It was His great love that He had for all of us who are believers that caused Him to make us alive in Christ. We, who were dead, now made alive. And He didnít do it while we were yet righteous men. He didnít do it when we were being obedient to Him. He did it while we were still DEAD in our trespasses. Thatís grace!

The passage goes on to tell us that He did it so that in the coming ages He would be able to show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. Soli Deo Gloria! Let God alone be glorified!

I was saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone in the early part of 2004. I canít pinpoint a specific date of conversion, but I know that God had radically changed me. The things that I once loved to do, I began to gradually hate more and more. I no longer desired to go the places I used to go, nor hang around those I used to hang around. I couldnít tolerate the sight and sound of much that I used to say and do. The things of the world started to become strangely dim in the light of Christ. The things I once hated started to become loved.

My mom could tell you that I never enjoyed reading too much. But, when the Lord saved me, He placed this insatiable hunger for Him inside of me. I couldnít put the Bible down. I wanted to know Him in such a way that I had never known anyone before. Iím still appreciating the awesome opportunity given to me by grace to know our beautiful, Triune God.

I donít want to spend too much time talking about myself. Sometimes when we hear testimonies we can tend to pay a lot of attention to the person giving the testimony and not as much to the one who provided the testimony. My testimony is not about Michael Armstrong. My testimony is about work of God in salvation, from beginning to end. Salvation is truly of the Lord.

In conclusion, some may ask, ďMichael, why have you waited so long to be baptized? Itís been four years.Ē It wasnít until after my conversion that I realized I was just being saved. I had believed for years that I was saved prior and that this time it was just a re-dedicating myself to the Lord. A man much wiser than I once said, ďRededicating oneís life to Christ is like redecorating the Titanic.Ē I didnít need redecorating, I needed a resurrection, and God graciously provided that and will provide a future resurrection for me, along with the rest of His body, at the last day.

I know that baptism doesnít save me. There is no regenerative work going on in the water. But, the baptism is an outward symbol of the regeneration that the Holy Spirit has already accomplished, removing my cold and hard heart of stone and replacing it with a warm and tender heart of flesh that seeks to please Him in everything I do.

Born in sin, then born of God. Adopted in the flesh, and then adopted by God. Thatís what I call grace.

_________________
It's true that doctrine divides. It's also true that love unifies. The unity we have in the faith is rooted and grounded in truth and love. Remove truth (right theology and doctrine) from the mix and you have less than Biblical unity. Remove love and you have no unity. Love causes us to seek truth and share that truth with others so that we become more unified. God is truth, and as we are more acquainted with His truth, the closer we are to Him, and the closer we become to each other
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Chema

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PostSubject: Re: My Baptism Testimony   Sat Sep 27, 2008 2:02 pm

That's a great testimony, bro.. Praise Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for His mercy!...

now, for the "long time" you took to be baptized, I was reading the other day on a book about History of the Church, that in the first centuries, if someone wanted to be baptized, that person would go thru a 3 year "training" process (learning doctrine, etc.)
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zacchaeus

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PostSubject: Re: My Baptism Testimony   Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:50 am

it's ironic that i'm reading this because my wife and i are being baptized next sunday. i received Christ as Savior and Lord a little less than 10 years ago, eventhough i supposedly "got saved" when i was 10 or 11. didn't know about God's glorious truth in its full light.

i was on a retreat this past weekend, and i was telling an elder my story. and as you stated, if not for the GRACE of God, i'd be still dead in my sins...thinking i was saved. my answering that deacons questions when i was a kid didn't save me, and me getting baptized was just washing a sinner boy. but now as a redeemed man, i will follow Christ in the water. it's amazing to me for i am nothing, just a sinful wretch, that if the mercies of God hadn't shown upon me would be eternally separated from Him in hell. i now have a heart for Christ and can't hold in His love and this glorious gospel which saved my soul. glory to God, for His Son, His Spirit and His grace
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