, Muskogee, OK

December 30, 2013

Spiritual blessings in the New Year come by choice

By Barrett Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).”

When I was baptized as a young man, the feeling of coming back up out of the water is something I will never forget. My sins were washed away! It was as if I was starting all over with not even a single sin attached to my soul. It was like being a baby again… sinless. A “new creation!”

As I grew in my knowledge of scripture and awareness of God’s constant presence in my life, my faith and appreciation of God grew. Once again God was right, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).”

I love verses such as 1 John 1:7 that remind me that as long as I continue to walk in God’s light where he is, the blood of Jesus will continue to cleanse me from all sin.

It’s like wearing a Jesus covering all the time. Galatians 3:26-27 says, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Of course, the water itself has no supernatural properties (1 Peter 3:21). The Bible describes what happens during baptism as God’s power at work.

“…having been buried with him (Christ) in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”

It is not our power or works that save us. It is God who does the work, and it is God who saves us by his grace, through our faith (Ephesians 2:8) in Jesus as our Savior, and when we allow our love for Christ to be shown in our obedience to him (James 2:24-26).

So, what are we supposed to do with this information in the coming year? Well, according to scripture, if you want to turn over a new leaf, so to speak, and become a new creation, you must be “in Christ,” or clothed in Christ. Paul says in Romans 6:4 that baptism makes it possible for Christians to live a new life. He also says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).”

Anyone or anything can be dunked. But baptism is different. It involves a person who believes that Jesus is the son of God, and who is ready to begin a new life of obedience to him. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or barrett@