Well, I started YWAM Montana’s School of Biblical Studies September 19, 2011, and the other day I graduated. The School of Biblical Studies (SBS) is a nine-month course where we studied all 66 books of the Bible. An inductive
approach was taught, which focussed on learning from the Bible and letting it shape our world view and lives. Often we study the Bible with ideas and beliefs firmly planted in our minds. When we do this, we are like lawyers using the word of God to build a case for what we already believe. We are not opened to changing anything even though we act like we are. More information is learned, but our lives are not transformed. I have been convicted about that kind of approach to Bible study. If I am not allowing Jesus to change me as a result of what I read in his word, my beliefs are void of power. I would be better off not even bothering.
As SBS wrapped up last week, I had the honor of baptizing several of our students. It was an informal YWAM style baptism right there in Flathead Lake where the water was still cold from winter.
There are many “enacted symbols” used in the Bible. Many are demonstrations God used through the prophets to show the people something about sin in their lives. For example, Ezekiel packed his bags and dug through the wall in front of the people demonstrating what it would be like for them to be taken into exile by the King of Babylon. It was a symbol of the real event. We use these symbols today as well. We use rings to symbolize a mutual, eternal commitment between two people getting married. Communion is what we do to remember what Jesus did when he ate the last supper with his disciples. When people are baptized, we are following the example the Lord set for us when he was baptized by John the Baptist. It is an enacted symbol used to make a public statement of faith before God, witnesses, and in the spirit of something that has happened inside the heart of a believer. In 1 Peter 3:21, Paul says its, “…not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…” As humans, I think there are many things like this; not because God needs the reminder, but because we do. We are saved. Baptism does not save us nor does communion, but we are told to do these things to remind us of the truth because we easily forget. May we live as people who are saved and redeemed… and who know it!