Stepping into the light

If you’re new to Christianity, you’ve likely got a ton of questions. I also have little doubt that for each question, you’ve found several answers. That is the reason for the Saved for Later blog. This week, we will be covering an important action step; that is, stepping into the light.

Questions are great. God is not afraid of your questions. Eventually, however, there will come a point where our questions will need to give way to our actions. We will have to step out in faith. From now on, we act out of faith.

As always, please feel free to like, not like, comment, or question any of my posts. Your opinions are welcome.

Confusing messages

When I first set foot in a church and the related men’s groups, I got a lot of confusing messages. I hope to help you avoid the same confusion.

True story. I was told that the Bible says that if I am saved, then I can go downtown, buy some coke, punch a nun, kill a cop, and still be forgiven.

There is a lot to unpack there, especially for someone who admitted he believed in God for the first https://savedforlater.org/stepping-into-the-light/time only 2 weeks earlier. Consider that while we can certainly be forgiven for all these things, if we truly give our hearts to the Lord, the above actions would not be possible (going forward).

We will encounter the let go and let God crowd in our walks. They would see us relieved of all worry and forsake accountability. While there is some truth to be gleaned from that statement, it is not a verse in the Bible (which does not automatically make it wrong) and can be misused.

We cannot lie by our bowls and wait for God to fill them with blessings. We are to take action, but we are to act in faith.

We cannot lie by our bowls and wait for God to fill them with blessings. We are to take action, but we are to act in faith.Click To Tweet

Faith

Faith – in this sense – does not mean that we will have to act in the absence of knowledge. Rather, biblical faith refers to acting in the knowledge of God’s promises, in which we have hope. And we must rest in the knowledge that God will fulfill His promises in ways that He sees fit, not necessarily in ways that we would have Him fulfill them. Or even in ways that we will ever see.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Act

By action – or to act – I am referring to the verb that means to take an action. To take a step. Not the verb act that means to pretend.

Stepping into the light can be seen in part as a rite of passage if you will; not unlike a wedding, a funeral, or a graduation ceremony. It is a happening that signifies to you, and those around you, that things are now no longer the same. They are very different.

  • Wedding – I will no longer be an individual, but half of a team of 2, and can go forth and act that way.
  • Funeral – This person will now no longer be in this world with us, but hopefully with God, and we must go forth and act that way.
  • Graduation – I have met the education requirements for this particular discipline and can now go forth and act that way.
  • Salvation – I am now a child of God and can go forth and act that way.

Now, as a Christians, one of your important first steps, according to Jesus, is to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

In a sense, baptism has a bit of a ritualistic quality to it in that one of its purposes is to state to those around us that we are now part of God’s team.

Not unlike the ceremonies mentioned above, however, baptism is not the act that does or is the thing.

  • We are not more capable because we were handed a diploma.
  • We will not now choose to value and be faithful to another person because we hired a caterer and a band.
  • We are not saved because we were baptized.

We are baptized because we are saved. All of these things happened before their respective events. Here we may start to see the desires of God.

But…

But if you ask any Christian what the first thing is that you should do now that you’re a Christian, baptism will be in the top 2 or 3 answers. I am not arguing with that argument. I am talking about the actions to take once we believe in God and Jesus and all that that entails.

If we accept Jesus. If we truly repent of our sinful natures and accept God’s forgiveness, then have a sudden heart attack and die before we have a chance to even get off of our knees, we will still be with God in eternity (Ephesians 2:8-9).

If, however, we are successful in getting to our feet, we now have actionable steps to take. But we must be careful not to act in the shadow of some to do list. Here’s what I mean.

Some of the first things to do once we are born again are:

  • get baptized
  • receive communion
  • read the Bible
  • go to church
  • tithe
  • serve
  • pray
  • forgive
  • love

This list is not exhaustive, it just may seem exhausting. You can see how carrying around such a list can be a burden. Especially if you approach it the wrong way.

Stepping into the light

Here is where we must come to know the Bible as a whole.

God gave His people laws in (what we now call) the Old Testament. What we should come to learn in https://savedforlater.org/stepping-into-the-light/our studies is that the presence of all of these laws did not provide us with a path to righteousness, but rather a need for a Savior (Romans 7:7-25).

In the first chapter of Isaiah, God condemned the hollow sacrifices of the Jewish people. They were checking all the boxes, but for the wrong reasons. They were doing what they thought God required of them, but only because they thought God required it of them, not out of willingness and obedience (Isaiah 1:1-20).

They were still worshiping in the temple, they were still bringing animal sacrifices, but they were still corrupt and their box-checking angered God.

They failed to realize that Jerusalem and Juda (the remaining southern territory) were not spared judgment (unlike the northern territory of Israel who had only recently been judged) because of their legalistic behavior. They were spared because God spared them (Isaiah 1:9). He had preserved a remnant from which He would bring forth Jesus in order to save us.

God wants our obedience, not our sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8; Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 7:22-23; Proverbs 21:3; Psalm 40:6-8, 51:16-17; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Mark 12:33).

He wants us to get baptized, read the Bible, receive communion, go to church, tithe, serve, pray, forgive, and love. But He wants us to do this because He saved us, not so that we can save ourselves.

https://savedforlater.org/stepping-into-the-light/

He wants us to love others because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). He wants us to forgive because He has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). He wants us to be baptized and receive communion and worship Him with our hearts, not to check a list another church-member rattled off to us.

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

If:

  • We believe in God
  • We believe in Jesus
  • We believe who Jesus is
  • We believe what Jesus has done

Then:

  • We must fear God
  • We must love God
  • We must live lives worthy of God
  • We must receive Jesus and be indwelt by the Holy Spirit
  • We must turn away from the world and toward God and be transformed (Romans 12:2)

Jesus said that whoever believes in Him will do what He has done (John 14:12). He said that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments (John 14:15). What are His commandments?

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

If all of our thoughts and all of our actions accomplish one or both of these things, then we cannot help but please God.

We will not be able to help but worship God and give of ourselves, and forgive others, and be Christ for others who have not yet seen Him.

The time has come for us to step into the light. When we do, we will start being the light. But that is only a start. There is more to come.

 

Saved for Later is a blog for the recently – or almost – saved adult. To get more of the foundational truths that we were not taught in childhood, subscribe to this blog. Please ‘like’, comment, and share!


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

There comes a time in the life of every new Christian when they will be stepping into the light. #faith #God #Bible #Biblestudy #blog

6 thoughts

  1. This was really well written and so helpful. Just had a conversation this week with a woman who has been attending church, small group and has been reading her bible for years. She’s been baptized but still has not professed that Christ is Lord over her life. She says no heart transformation has happened. In a loving way, I want to tell her sometimes you just have to believe. I will take some of your points and use them as encouragement when I am with her.

    1. Hey Bailey. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’m encouraged to know you found my post helpful!

      I actually am torn between who I should be speaking to in my blog. I hope to be able to speak to people who have recently come to Christ, as well as those that have “believed” in God for a while but have been indifferent towards God for whatever reason. I try to temper some “first steps” with some doubt-tackling at the same time.

      I would say that the Spirit is definitely working on this woman because she attends church, small groups, and reads her Bible. One of the most important aspects of the church is it becomes a path on which we can encounter other Christians who are stronger on their walks and in their faith. Be mindful that you are now on her path, and she on yours. Maybe show her that you wrote me about her and use it as a conversation starter.

      With all of that obvious belief in her life, though short of a heart-transformation, I might work on her expectations. “You go to church, you read your Bible, what would a heart transformation look like? What would it feel like? Would you know it if it happened? How would you know? What would have to happen for you to feel a transformation and why do you feel ‘that’ needs to happen?”

      Perhaps she needs help from you in knowing what “convinced” or transformed you. She may only need a perspective change. I could be wrong.

      I too want to just lovingly come out and say, do you believe in God? Do you believe in Jesus? Then how can He not be the Lord of your life? I guess we’re all just in different places in our walks. I was unable to believe at all myself until I was 42, so I get it. It’s just hard to not shout it from the rooftops (when inappropriate to do so) once we’re saved.

      My daughter grew up as the atheist that I’d raised her to be and unwilling to hear my new beliefs when she was 12. But I prayed for her as constantly as I could manage and she was baptized at 18. We should show Jesus to all we can while we can, and pray for them while we cannot. In the end, that’s all we can do and the rest is up to the Holy Spirit.

      I’m thrilled to know that you got anything useful from my blog. I hope it continues to help.

      Be blessed.
      BMK

  2. Dear Brian

    It was a pleasure reading your blog post “Stepping into the Light”.

    Here’s my comment.

    The reason you mention for running your blog is excellent.

    What I enjoy about your blogging style is that you raise many questions.

    And as you wrote:

    “God is not afraid of your questions.”

    My favourite sentence in this particular blog post was:

    “Faith – in this sense – does not mean that we will have to act in the absence of knowledge.”

    You’re doing a vital job sharing your first meeting with Christianity and the church.

    I agree with you when you say that baptism has a bit of a ritualistic quality to it – perhaps that’s good.

    Or let me rephrase it: I’m pro-tradition.

    The church gets its power from its 2000-year-old traditions, and from God of course.

    The first-things-to-do that you provide in the blog post should give newcomers a picture of what’s it’s like to walk in faith.

    Before I return to my daily duties, I’d like to compliment you on your blog.

    The Christian blogging community can learn from your way of structuring your blog posts.

    It’s a huge plus that your blog is not filled with embedded flash etc.

    I do also like that you write long-form content – we need more Christian bloggers, who do that.

    I’ll share on Twitter.

    Blessings!
    Edna Davidsen

    1. Hi Edna,
      Thank you so much for your generous and gracious comments. I can’t tell you how encouraging they are!

      The funny thing is, the only reason I don’t have any embedded flash is that I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to do that. For every hour I spend blogging, I’m probably still spending 2 learning and correcting mistakes that I discover. I hope that ratio improves soon 🙂

      It’s also a great encouragement to know that more embedded Christians (so to say) are okay with the introductory way in which I share my opinions about the faith. While I am not opposed to knocking over a few chairs, I also hope to remain biblically sound. So thanks for that encouragement too.

      Thank you for the work you do with your blog and company, ourchristianbook.com, and thanks so much again for your affirming comments.

      BMK

  3. I don’t know how I missed this one! I love this, I had a smile the entire time! The time has come for us to step into the light. When we do, we will start being the light. But that is only a start. There is more to come.

    1. Thanks, Amy. So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment. God bless!
      BMK

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