From Old To New
Today, I started watching a time-lapsed video of a guy rebuilding what I think was a Model-A Ford. It took about 10 minutes to watch it from beginning to end, and something in the first few seconds prompted me to watch the whole thing. It went from a rusted bucket of bolts to a beautiful piece of work.
This guy broke down everything piece by piece, from the engine to the seats. If it was rusted, he worked it until it wasn't rusted. If it was broke, he made another one. If it was bent, he straightened it. With each piece, he painted it, and restored it to it's original condition, and when he was done, it looked like it did the day it rolled off the assembly line probably 100 or so years ago.
God does that for us. When we are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38) God doesn't just clean us up a bit, and spray us with a can of Krylon. If we are rusty, He removes all the rust. If we are bent, we get straightened. We don't just get some minor shade-tree mechanic's version of repaired, we get a totally fresh start. Scripture calls it a "new life" in several places, Romans 6:4 being a very good one.
God makes us new again (John 3:1-21). We have everything washed clean, and God sees us pure in His sight. If only we could stay that way! But wait, He has made a way for us to do that too. Even though we get a fresh start in the 'sin' category, it won't be long till we sin again. Does God require us to be baptized again? No.
2 Cor 4:16 "...Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." The blood of Jesus keeps washing those sins away continually, but that cleansing is conditional. It's available to all who will come to Jesus on His terms, but outside of that, it doesn't just apply to every human being, regardless of the doctrine of many false teachers today.
What does scripture say? "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-10).
Two things to be clear about regarding that scripture. John is talking to Christians, people who have become Christians through an obedient faith where their sins were washed away in baptism, they became a child of God, and the Lord added them to His church (Acts 2:47) The other is that little word, "IF". "If we walk in the light..." "If we confess our sins...". God certainly will do His part, there's no question about that. The only question is, have we done our part in coming to Him, and are we striving in our lives to walk according to His teachings?