1. You have acknowledged your need as a sinner and have been baptized in Jesus Name, and have received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, speaking in other tongues. You have acknowledged that you were wrong and God is right. You have told the Lord of the poverty of your soul. Earnestly you have prayed, “God be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
Your first step was to acknowledge your need as a sinner.
Dead and lost are the two Bible words used to describe your past life. Dead things cannot grow. You do not grow into grace; you grow once you are in it. Nothing is so completely helpless as that which is dead; and as far as God is concerned, all people through natural birth, are spiritually dead. The Bible describes your spiritual transformation this way: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
Your life has been changed from a dead to a living state in Christ. God has touched your life and imparted divine life — His life — eternal life. This decision is really a death-breaking, earth-shaking, Heaven-awakening decision.
Lost is a descriptive word. The Bible states, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Without Christ, we are lost like sheep without a shepherd; helpless, hopeless, and defenseless. Lost, like the prodigal son; separated, destitute, and disgraced.
By your actions in obeying Acts 2:38, you have been changed from a lost to a saved condition changed from an enemy of God to a friend of God, changed from a stranger to a child of God. Your salvation is revolutionary.
Seneca, the philosopher, said, “We have all sinned, some more, some less.”
Coleridge, the great thinker, confessed, “I am a fallen creature.”
T.S. Elliot’s character, Cecilia Copplestone, talks about her “awareness of solitude, and “a sense of sin.”
The Chinese speak of “two good men: one dead, the other unborn.”
The Bible plainly says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
2. You have acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to meet our basic need. Christ was
born to die. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). This purpose was
accomplished when He died on the cross. Repeatedly He told His disciples of His
coming death. On the night of His betrayal by Judas, He broke bread with His
disciples. Plainly He explained to them the purpose of the cross. For this is my
blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”
(Matthew 26:28). Paul simply and clearly wrote, “For he [God] hath made him to be
sin for us, who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Isaiah prophetically penned, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he
was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and
with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Our basic need is the forgiveness of sin. God’s provision for our need is found in
the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son, fully and completely bore
the sins of the world. He took upon Himself, our sin. The Gospel is the good news
of what God has done through Christ to forgive our sins.
Recognizing Christ as God’s answer, that He died in your place, you have come
asking for forgiveness of all your sins. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins,
the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). In a definite act
of faith, you have pledged your allegiance to Christ.
The word confess is an interesting word. It simply means, to speak the same
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thing. It means to agree or acknowledge. You have first acknowledged your need
as a sinner, but you have also acknowledged Jesus Christ as your personal
Saviour. What have you done? “Thou hast believed” (John 20:29).
3. You are now beginning to acknowledge Jesus Christ before others. You may
ask, “Do I have to publicly confess Christ?”
I must answer, “Yes, Jesus Christ requests a public confession.” And I might
add, “How can you help it!”
Jesus plainly said, “Whosoever; therefore, shall confess me before men, him will
I confess also before my Father which is in Heaven” (Matthew 10:32). If you
have obeyed Acts 2:38, you will have to tell someone about it. This new life will be
obvious, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew
Some new Christians try to be “secret” believers, but this is unwise and wrong.
Just imagine Dr. Jonas Salk keeping his polio vaccine a secret! This would have
been criminal. So, too, a knowledge of God’s salvation places us in debt to the
Both Nicodemus and Joseph of Armathea tried to be secret disciples. It took the
death of Christ to bring them to the place of openly begging for the body of Jesus
from Pilate. The Scripture record is clear: “And after this Joseph of Armathea,
being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he
might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore,
and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first
came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred
pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with
the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury”
(John 19:38-40). Do not let your fear of others rob you of the joy of open allegiance.
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It is sin to be silent, when to confess, would help another.
To be ashamed of Christ is really a sad experience. It implies carelessness,
error, and failure on our part. It dishonors Christ and brings personal defeat. If
Jesus Christ were ashamed of you and me, that we could easily understand; but for
men and women to be ashamed of Christ is difficult to comprehend. Joseph Griggs
Jesus, and shall it ever be
A mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Ashamed of Thee, whom angels praise
Whose glories shine thro’ endless days?
Ashamed of Jesus! Sooner far
Let evening blush to own a star;
He sheds the beams of light divine
O’er this benighted soul of mine.
Ashamed of Jesus! That dear friend
On whom my hopes of Heav’n depend!
No, when I blush, be this my shame,
That I no more revere His Name.
Ashamed of Jesus! Yes, I may
When I’ve no guilt to wash away;
No tear to wipe, no good to crave,
No fears to quell, no soul to save.
Ashamed of Christ? We must never be. Repeatedly we are encouraged in
Scripture to confess Christ openly and not be ashamed. Jesus said, Whosoever
therefore, shall be ashamed of me and of My Words in the adulterous and sinful
generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the
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glory of His Father with the Holy angels” (Mark 8:38). To be reproached for
Christ now is to be rewarded later. At times, we may be called upon to partake in
Christ’s sufferings. This really implies that He and we are together. “If any man
suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed” (1 Peter 4:16), write Peter.
I have found that failure to acknowledge Jesus Christ often results in careless
living, but a public commitment puts one on record before God and man. The fact
that others know of your conversion will really help guard you against temptation.
Yes, your conversion is a blessed one. With Phillip Doddridge you can sing:
O happy day that fixed my choice
On Thee, my Saviour and my God.
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
Happy day, happy day,
When Jesus washed my sins away.
Yes, your conversion has begun a real, happy, lasting change. You are ready to
build a life for God.