Go. Teach. Baptize. 

Matthew 28: 19
Jesus was dead. Jesus was risen. But they weren’t sure yet. 

This encounter with Christ at the end of the gospel according to Matthew describes the encounter that believers and doubters had with the newly risen Christ. This rising up was evidence to them that Jesus had indeed conquered death, had fulfilled the prophesie, and had made the way for salvation. 

That’s all fine and good. But what do we do here and now while we await the only sure thing in life; death? Here Jesus leaves no doubt or question. He instructs us to do three separate and distinct things:

1. Go

2. Teach

3. Baptize

In some ways we might very easily assume that because Jesus paid it all on the cross as soon as we accept him into our hearts our work is done. After all, didn’t our pastors say that if you take one step towards Jesus, he would take two towards you? That his yoke was easy and his burden light, and what could be lighter than taking it easy and not working anymore to curry favor in the eyes of the Lord? 

This in some ways suggests to me that his will on earth as it is in heaven is not thornless roses and clouds. It’s work. Work that you want to do that comes with joy and no paycheck but with every need you ever had already fulfilled. The work of the saints according to this passage is for us to eschew a lazy Christian ethic and get up from or place of comacency and go. Go from the comfort of the pew. Go from the easy chair with the television evangelist on. Go from your place of comfort and choose to lean on faith. This is not comfortable. It never was intended to be. It was instead meant to be a promise that no matter where you go, he will be there with you as a rod and staff guiding and protecting you. But you must go. 

That is understandable, but to teach. What are we to teach? It would be easy to become sidetracked into teaching the wrong things. Think of how we are when we know that we know that we know what is. You are certain that if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be able to retire and have a glorious golden age in the sunset of your life. Right? No? What happened to that knowledge? Nothing like that is assured. But we still teach it. Neither did Jesus promise us an easy life yet some still teach that. He taught us to love one another as he loves us. That is hard because the truth is, it’s easier to fight and struggle fuss and cause war than it is to love and stay our raised fist. Teach his love. Teach the basic ethic to love one another in every land. 

Baptize. Baptism is not simply getting wet and it doesn’t save you. A baptism is an outward demonstration of the change that has already occurred in your heart. Evidence to all that you’ve entered into relationship with Christ. Baptism is an immersion into the water but it is also immersion of your spirit into one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the great act we can make to show our unashamed willingness to love, to walk, and to proclaim the glory of God in our lives. 

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Grace, before. 

2 Timothy 1:9

This passage is shocking to the new Christian who may not realize that Jesus was here at the beginning. What beginning? The beginning before the world was formed. Before the stars were flung against the inky blue blackness of space and time. Before there was form in the void. Before you yourself were corporeal and walked. 

Before. 
In this passage I see God reveal to me the awesome truth of salvation. That we cannot do anything to earn his grace. We could work day in and day out to the glory of his kingdom without ceasing and without rest. We could raise the dead and converse with every being the universe has and share the gospel to all who have ears. We could live faultless from this day forward and cause no one to stumble. We could pastor the pastor and give peace to the troubled everywhere. And yet we still could not earn a place in his palace of many rooms where Jesus might go to prepare for us. Our works are insufficient in his sight. Yet he will welcome us in if we just accept his grace. But I thought he gave his grace to us 2000 years ago. Not before it all began. 

Therein lies the shock. 

What grace could Jesus have given us before the known universe even began? Timothy is saying that grace and purpose are not mutually exclusive. The purpose of God is not to set down commandment after commandment law after law and edict after edict by which he will judge us worthy or wanting. It seems to this uneducated deacon that Gods purpose is to reveal grace to us. Grace to be his representative on earth. Grace to receive his blessings here and now to his glory. Grace that we might do unto others as he has done unto us. Grace to receive the right hand of fellowship in his presence. Grace to enter thou in, as his good and faithful servant. Grace to receive the blood of Christ which we didn’t earn but he gave willingly for our sake. Grace to be in relationship with the eternal and living God. Grace to be ever ready to practice mercy on those who have done wrong and deserve justice, but instead receive…. grace. 

And he planned it in the beginning when the holy trinity were as one in the beginning. Before.