In and around the second largest city in Iraq is not only a historic site for current events now, but the city of Mosul held thousands of people who had a love for Christ, The city fell to Islamic extremists this past summer. These Christ-loving people feared for their lives and ran away, losing everything but their faith in Christ. In some areas, they were forced to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death. Well documented stories are emerging of many of them executed for not renouncing their faith in Christ.
Regardless of what the Bible says about the necessity of baptism, and whether or not I believe it, does not change the fact that the majority of these Christ-loving people were slaughtered without ever being baptized into Christ. This fact speaks volumes about how faith in Christ can be very strong before a person is baptized, because had they been told about it, their self-sacrifice proves they would have done it. But instead of writing about hypothetical situations, I propose to you that their cruel deaths speak to us Christians who have been baptized and shy away from even speaking the name of Christ at work. What has happened to our faith after we were baptized? That question is answered by the reason we were baptized, and also what our purpose for being a Christian is today.
If I was baptized (immersed) for the sole reason of having my own spirit washed clean of sins by the blood of Christ, why would my faith grow weak? Because the absence of sin does not produce any fruit or conviction in what I believe in my spirit. There must be something or someone within me, taking the place of sin. Which introduces the whole subject of God’s Spirit being a gift within a Christian’s spirit. Take time to read Acts 2:37-39 carefully and look at the promised gift. Is it spiritual cleanliness, or is it Christ’s Spirit?
The apostle Paul wrote, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:9-10) These words teach us that a Christian’s spirit envelopes the Holy Spirit. Our purpose for being baptized should be to live with him, not with the flesh. This purpose results in God being very pleased with us!
Do we have any idea what the Spirit of Christ feels or where He is when any Christ-loving person takes on cruelty and death for refusing to renounce Christ? Do we know that strength in the churches of Christ? Lots of people in Iraq don’t just believe in the presence of Christ, they know Him. Do you? What exactly is your purpose for becoming a Christian?