Lauriault: God’s intentions often misinterpreted

At a buffet luncheon recently someone said to the person sitting next to me, "I can't believe you're hungry after you had that burrito grande for breakfast."

My neighbor replied that he was a growing boy, to which I added that fat husbands make wives and mothers-in-law look good. I was referring to their ability to cook, which I admire as indicated by my girth, but he took it differently and said tongue-in-cheekily, "You mean because he makes them look thinner than they actually are when they stand together?"

Because that's not at all what I meant, I was caught totally off-guard and stunned.

Quite often people have misread God's intentions for us. Some have done that intentionally merely out of opposition or because they want others to be their followers (Matthew 7:15-17; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; Isaiah 30:10-11; Acts 28:30-31). God expressed his shock at Israel for intentionally disobeying him by worshiping other gods, saying it would never have entered his mind to command that (Jeremiah 7:30-31).

He actually had been very clear about idolatry and he is very clear about every matter of importance in regard to our relationship with him (Exodus 20:1-6; Ephesians 3:4; Deuteronomy 8:1; Matthew 28:18-20; 1 John 5:3).

Other people are unintentional about misreading God's plan for us because they haven't been taught correctly or studied God's word thoroughly enough for themselves (Acts 17:11; Luke 8:11-15). Certainly, all who believe in God acknowledge that it is his intention that all people will be saved and go to heaven, which is why he sent Jesus to the earth and the cross to pay the wages for our sin (2 Peter 3:9; Romans 3:23; 6:23; John 3:16). But, many have been taught that to do anything to obtain our salvation, even submitting to God in obedience will set aside God's grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

One particular point of contention on this is purpose of baptism. God's word clearly says that baptism is for forgiveness as we become united with Jesus in his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, at which time we are born again into the new life with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39; Romans 8:9; 6:3-5; John 3:3-5; Ephesians 2:1-7).

It does not set aside God's grace; rather, it places us in Christ where we can be blessed spiritually as his child (Galatians 2:20-12; 3:26-29; 4:6-7; 5:24; Ephesians 1:3).

Were you baptized when you believed (Acts 19:1-5; Ephesians 1:13-14)? Unto what were you baptized? Was it for membership in a church or denomination or was it with water according to the word for forgiveness of sins to become a member of the body of Christ having allowed God to do his work in you (Ephesians 5:25-27; Acts 2:41, 47; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:11-12; Titus 3:4-8)? That is God's clearly intended method for cleansing from sin to become his child (Acts 22:16; 1 John 5:7). Knowing God's will in this, we won't be caught off guard when Jesus comes back, whether or not we've been baptized.

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at lmlaur@plateautel.net

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