Alarm bells should be going off in the hearts of every Christian adult. We are losing our children and the future looks very bleak if we don't do something immediately.
After years of prayer, study and observation, I am convinced that four areas of Christian development must receive greater emphasis if we expect to reverse the mass exodus of young people who abandon the faith. The first of these four areas is true conversion. Without a proper foundation, the structure cannot remain standing. Without a proper starting place, the entire journey lacks focus. True conversion is the anchor for responsible Christian living and loyalty to the Bride of Christ.
Within the conversion process, there are at least three essential happenings:
1. A crisis of faith
2. A surgery at the hands of Christ
3. A healing from the Holy Spirit
Last time we looked at the first element, a crisis of faith. In this article we will focus on the second marker of true conversion, a surgery at the hands of Christ.
Unfortunately, too many in the Christian world either preach a conversion experience (the sinner's prayer) that is so convenient it devalues the crisis, or they make the surgery (baptism, Colossians 2:11-12) so casual (an outward sign of an inward grace) that it robs the occasion of its urgency and makes the Surgeon's work seem almost unnecessary.
In Colossians 2:9-12, we find three essential elements to the surgical procedure performed by the very hands of Jesus Christ.
"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead." (NIV)
Before noticing each part of this surgical process, please be sure to give special attention to the highlighted words above. Baptism is the operating room. Because the operation occurs in baptism, it is critical that our children view immersion as more than just a convenient initiation ceremony. Baptism must be taught as an essential part of their salvation process. According to the words of the Holy Spirit, baptism is the very point at which sins are cut away (circumcision). Due to the importance of the Surgeon and His work, immersion must not be seen as an outward sign of an inward grace. To view baptism in that way implies that a person is healed before surgery and it diminishes the urgent importance of this commanded procedure. Baptism is the surgical entry point of grace.
According to Colossians 2:9-12, three surgical realities take place in baptism:
1. The patient is made whole. "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness." (Vs. 9) It is in baptism, Christ's operating room, that we fully identify with the Divine presence. We are no longer separated by sin. Our relationship with the Creator is restored.
2. The patient is made clean. "Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ." (Vs. 11) It is in baptism, Christ's operating room, that the contaminating areas of our spiritual character are cut away.
3. The patient is made new. "…in which you were also raised with him…." (Vs. 12) Romans 6:4 (NIV) puts it this way, "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." It is in baptism, Christ's operating room, that the metamorphic process of spiritual renewal takes place.
From this passage, it becomes vividly clear that spending time in Christ's operating room is essential to one's salvation. Patients must understand that, by God's design, the surgery has to come before the healing. To view baptism as an outward sign of an inward grace confuses the process. Healing cannot come without first experiencing Christ's surgery. Salvation cannot precede the operating room - baptism. When the entry point of grace becomes an after-the-fact ceremony of symbolic gestures, the celebration devalues the work of Christ in baptism and the foundation of conversion is eroded.
Both grace and healing are tremendous motivators, but when the surgery is de-emphasized both the grace and the healing are doomed to being under appreciated. Teach the young that baptism is essential.
To continue this study, go to:
"To Keep The Faith! A Healing from the Holy Spirit"
"To Keep The Faith! Investment: Taking Ownership of Their Place Within the Church"
"To Keep The Faith! Dependence: Developing Loyalty to the Spiritual Network"
"To Keep The Faith! Expression: Celebrating Reverent, Relevant, Revealing Worship"
Back to Top of "A Surgery at the Hands of Christ"
Back to The Church Page
Back to Home Page