Posts Tagged ‘trust’

comfort

My late wife and friend, Patricia, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. After many surgeries and over a year’s worth of chemotherapy, she went into remission. In August of 2006, she complained of chest pain and went to the doctor. She had a chest x-ray done which discovered that the breast cancer had metastasized to her lungs and chest wall. After seeing her oncologist that treated her the first time, he told her this time it was much worse and that this cancer now is of the terminal kind. In January 2007, her oncologist gave her 8-12 months. In August of 2007, she was still here, and was doing her best to keep on living!

I have always wondered why she had cancer. I have always wondered why it has affected me so much. I have heard of others with cancer, Lance Armstrong for one, who has continued to “beat” cancer. Then there are those I’ve known who haven’t won over cancer, my mother, a real good friend named Bill, and countless others.

Then a friend of mind named Jim sent me a reply to a message I sent him regarding a bulletin he sent about his daughter reporting that her friend Hillary had “beat” cancer. It was about her receiving a “wish” from the Make a Wish Foundation. Her wish was to care for some children in a third world country. Her wish came true.

In his reply, he said that my family was “sharing in Christ’s sufferings.” I was taken aback from his reply; I was kind of hurt by that statement. I asked God, “how is Pat being sick sharing in Christ’s sufferings?” How can that be? Then prompted by the Holy Spirit, I looked up the passage, Philippians 3:10, which says, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.”

Did God make her suffer? Did God give her the same cancer – twice? What I came to understand was that God had given her Himself; God was very present with her. He was a God of mystery to her; yet now she knows He is the God of all comfort. She knows that now with Him in heaven. Moreover, I know this now…however much it hurts me inside to actualize the reality that any kind of suffering we experience, Christ suffered the same on the Cross.

Isaiah 53:3-5 explains it, “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

I really know this now. I know this experientially. I feel that most people don’t know this until it actually happens to them. At least, that is how I feel about it myself.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

Through my friend’s words, God’s Spirit touched my heart, and even though I weep at this knowledge, I am comforted as never before. I am comforted knowing that God had compassion on Patricia. He had compassion on even me! God has compassion toward all of His creation. I feel that God may be enabling me to help others to see the compassion of God in times like these, when they are fearful, hurting, doubtful and in despair. Pat went to be with the Lord eleven years ago, July 29th, 2008.

Save

Save

combat-fear-and-anxiety

What is fear? The dictionary says fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

Psychology Today says, “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. However, often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell.”

What do we fear? For example, there is the fear of man, fear of heights, fear of animals, fear of punishment, fear of death, fear of the unknown, fear of the devil, and the fear of God.

Fear first strikes in the mind. Fear then attacks the soul. Those without God cannot defeat fear.

The born again believer in Jesus Christ can defeat fear. However, for the believer in Jesus Christ, we must qualify what is legitimate fear.

Legitimate Fear

We must fear God. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” (Psalms 111:10 ESV)

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 NIV)

“But I will show you the One to fear: Fear Him who has authority to throw people into hell after death. Yes, I say to you, this is the One to fear!” (Luke 12:5 HCSB)

We must fear the Day of Judgment. “Just as human beings have to die once, but after this comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 CJB)

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11 ESV)

“In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the Day of Judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:17-19 HCSB)

We should not fear punishment, because if we are followers of Jesus, we know He took upon Himself the punishment for sin reserved for us.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16 NIV)

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself–a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 HCSB)

We should not fear death because Jesus died for us, and was raised from the dead and thereby defeated death. “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV)

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22 HCSB)

Facing Fear

The believer in Jesus Christ must discern when they are fearful, whether or not their fear is legitimate. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

A believer can legitimately become afraid for very good reasons. However, if there is no legitimate reason to fear, like the near miss of a car accident, or your child falls and hurts themselves, and thoughts begin to enter your mind that are contrary to the nature, character, and the promises of God and what you know is true in your heart, then the fear is coming from something else. That fear could be a demon lying to you.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…” (1 Timothy 4:1-2 NKJV)

There are lying spirits. “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the LORD said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’” (1 Kings 22:21-22 NKJV) For a spirit to lie to a believer, God has to give it permission to do so.

Sometimes, these lying spirits are demons that inflict fear. “His servants said to him, “We know that an evil spirit sent by God is tormenting you.” (1 Samuel 16:15 GNB)

These lying spirits are used for the testing of our faith, “At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.” (Ephesians 6:16 GNB)

Sometimes, God can use demons or spirits to aid in the process of sanctification, “Therefore, to keep me from becoming overly proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from the Adversary to pound away at me, so that I wouldn’t grow conceited.” (2 Corinthians 12:7 CJB)

Fear and faith are totally opposite from one another. We must always trust in and rely upon God to be there for us. If we do not, we will invariably become afraid. “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6 ESV)

Therefore, the enemy, a demon can lie to us, saying there is no hope, or the outcome is dim. We know this is not from God, for God tells us our hope and salvation is in Him, and He will deliver us from evil. “And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13 NRSV)

We must believe God, and trust in His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. “”Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 NASB)

We cannot truly know God without treasuring Jesus in our hearts. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13 NASB)

Defeating Fear

Negative thoughts come from either our own fleshly minds or an evil, deceitful, lying spirit. These negative thoughts create anxiety. We can become fearful and even terrified. These thoughts could be called, fiery darts or arrows, missiles, or seem like javelins aimed at our hearts to unsettle us. Fear can lead to anxiety. Therefore, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Finally, we must be strong in the power of His might! We must trust in God through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, because “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NASB)

Rejoice! In Jesus Christ, we have overcome the evil one and all his minions!

“I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am He.”  (John 8:24 NRSV)

IamHe

obedience

The short message was recorded with my new GoPro Hero3 camera!

Strategies

Communication Strategies In Ministry

I graduated from Crown College with a BS degree in Christian Ministry.  I have learned the essential skills necessary for the communication of the Gospel and biblical truths through a variety of available mediums (this one included). I am studying current mediums for communication, using the basic principles of exegesis and hermeneutics, strategies for effective communication, and preaching. I hope to be further equipped to formulate an effective communication philosophy and strategy for ministry.

Finding a mentor, to me, was like looking for the holy grail. I know what I was looking for, but the search was not uncovering my mentor. You see, I live 70 miles from the church I attend. My wife and I minister there. She plays piano for worship sometimes, teaches children’s church, and I have supplied the pulpit several times. Our pastor left to take another church, so I could not use him as my mentor resource. I had visited several churches in the town where I live. I got to know two of the pastors, and haven’t really been in communication with them for a while. I was afraid to ask them for their help. Who likes rejection? I did not even consider dropping this course on account of this hunt for my holy mentor. I prayed and agonized about what to do. So, I am sitting here in my office, and the Lord prompted me to send an email to both of the pastors. What have I got to lose? My grade, my GPA, all my effort! Thanks be to God! He does provide and He does supply all of our needs. I found the holy mentor! We had our meeting and he signed the agreement! So, onward and upward. Whew.

I believe like Luther and Calvin, that my salvation is totally monergistic. All God, and none of me! However, when I became a Christian, born again, regenerated, transformed by the Holy Spirit, my interaction with God became synergistic. God tells me what to do, and I am supposed to do it! However, even if that is the case, God’s Word tells me that “it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 (NRSV) Even though my relationship with God is interactive, He still helps me. He doesn’t leave me without what I need to live in union and communion with Him. He enables me, He enables my will, and He enables my effort. Why? All for His good pleasure. Our wills and our actions are the very arenas where God’s own power is working. His grace still amazes me.

How does this relate to communication strategies? Well, did you get a picture while reading this story? Did you see me as one of Monty Python’s characters riding a stick pony along the wooded landscape? Did you picture me going along hill and dale until I finally came upon that glorious email sent from above saying, “sure I’d be glad to sit down and talk with you about this?” If you did, that’s awesome. If you didn’t, was my communication strategy working? Did you get another picture in your mind while reading this? Either way, the point is that there are many means to communicate – and this blog is one of the means that I use to present the Gospel to a lost and dying world. It works for me.

Application? Always trust in the Lord. Always trust Him for anything and everything. Jesus said that if we ask anything according to God’s will, our prayers will be answered. God will provide the means to accomplish the task He has assigned to you. That says a lot about the content of our prayer….but hey, that’s another sermon!

Jesus

Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

Once was painful trying, Now is perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost.
Once was ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast;
Once was constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

Once was busy planning, Now is trustful prayer;
Once was anxious caring, Now He has the care.
Once was what I wanted, Now what Jesus says;
Once was constant asking, Now is ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working, His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me.
Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored, Safe within the veil.

All in all forever, Jesus will I sing!
Everything in Jesus, and Jesus everything!

~ A. B. Simpson

lawgracefreedom

Some recent observations about Law & Grace…

If we attend Christian instruction/Catechism before we are born again, what happens then is we are trained on the treadmill of merit (Law). Our orientation is backwards. Law comes before Grace. The same thing can happen when you become a Christian and are not instructed in the Christian faith — you end up on the treadmill running away from the fear of not “performing” up to what you think are God’s standards. The Law was given as a teacher – “this is how your relationship with God must be; this is how your relationship to others should be.” It teaches us that we are sinners, and there is no way that we can “keep” this Law on our own. Grace says, Here is God’s mercy. Here is God’s love for you, in that while you were yet sinners, My beloved Son died in your place, Jesus paid the price for your redemption from sin, sickness and death. He took upon Himself God’s wrath – our punishment was upon Him.

It is by means of God’s mercy do we perceive that the Law says I’m a sinner, and then in God’s mercy His Grace touches our hearts, He delivers us through “the bath of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

“The one trusting in the Son has eternal life; but the one resisting the Son shall not see the life, but the anger of God remains upon him.” ~ John 3:36

Therefore, it is “…by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, that not anyone should boast; for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before prepared that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Now, we live the Law, because God has written it upon our hearts, and being empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to observe our relationship to God and others as the Law requires. We are made free from vain effort, but none the less do we put forth effort, because God is behind us encouraging us in our abundant life. And, if we fail, if we sin, God is faithful to forgive us, because He promised that to us in Christ. At the same time, God is righteous and holy. Therefore, He promised, because of the shed blood of Christ on Calvary to cleanse us from all our unrighteousness. This is conditional though, because we are told to confess our sin, and turn from it back toward God.

“If we should say that we do not have sin, we mislead ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we should acknowledge our sins, He is trustworthy and just that He should have forgiven us the sins and should have cleansed us from all iniquity.” ~ 1 John 1:8-9

Jesus Christ is our salvation, our redemption, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our glorification. He is our ALL in ALL. The life I live, is Christ Jesus my Lord.

Image

Gospel means, simply, “good news.” There are numerous so-called gospels in the world proclaiming good news to those who would listen, and these gospels come in any number of forms—from the gospel of wealth and power to the gospel of health and beauty. These gospels, however, do not address the most basic problem that all men and women have—the problem of sin and guilt; that is, spiritual deadness.

Put simply, the Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is good news because, without it, we stand condemned as sinners before a holy and just God, deserving His wrath. In Isaiah’s vision of the throne room of God, seraphim (angelic beings) cry out continually, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Isaiah, overwhelmed in the presence of God, cries out in despair: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isa. 6:3, 5)

Yet, in God’s perfect holiness—and this is the good news—God has, in His good pleasure, made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. John 3:16-17 says,

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

Jesus Christ lived a righteous life and then died a terrible death on a Roman cross for His people. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). Thus, Jesus Christ satisfied the holy and just requirements of God. God then raised Him from the dead, vindicating Christ’s work.

Sinners are called to repent and believe the Gospel and to trust in Christ for salvation. Sinners receive this free gift of salvation from God through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and are thereby counted righteous before God. Romans 10:9-13 states,

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Having been justified, Christians are called to walk as “living sacrifices” unto Him through the Holy Spirit because they are not their own, but were “bought with a price” (Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 6:20). Just as God raised Jesus Christ, so Christians await a resurrection of their own bodies, Christ being the “first fruits” of the new creation (1 Cor. 15:20). Ultimately, this is their hope—that God has begun His work of “making all things new” in the work of Jesus Christ and in the continued sanctification of His saints (Rev. 21:5). They await the new heavens and new earth in which there will be no more sin, pain, or sorrow (Rev. 21:4).

~ from St. Andrews (A Reformed Congregation)

July 2008

I stayed awake last night after about 0130 AM, just thinking about my situation.  Here I am looking about my home from the cushions from my couch, as my wife lay next to me in a hospital bed furnished by Hospice of the Valley.  I hear the whooshing of the oxygen concentrator as it pumps fresh oxygen into my wife’s lungs at 4 liters per minute or second, whatever it is.  I look about in the semi darkness and hear her labored breathing.  I think about the bills I have to pay, the rent that is very past due, and everything else one thinks about when his wife tells him the hour is near.  We have until July 9th to come up with $2153.76.  We have exhausted various local resources for help.  They are either out of money or ask us to wait a few months.  We can’t wait.  I can’t wait, and my wife and child can’t wait either.  Yes, I was working a job, but when I told them about my wife’s Dream Foundation vacation they approved, they weren’t very happy with it, but approved it.  When I returned from the vacation and told them my wife’s condition has declined since leaving, and that I needed 5 more days to find someone to come into my home to watch her, they weren’t happy about that either.  Above all that, I had to drive 40 miles to work every day.  I loved that position, but it is realistically too far to travel because, a) don’t want to be that far away from my sick wife, b) at $4.30 a gallon I was paying almost $100 a week in gas!  The company wouldn’t compensate for any of the travel.  So now, I am without a job.  I will start looking Monday, for something very close.  I need to find something that will bring in some money.

It is sad, that the state of the financial situation of many people in our country is pretty bad.  For one reason or another, a lot of Americans are robbing peter to pay paul in their life to survive!  I was laid off last May of 2007.  I was on unemployment until the end of November.  I couldn’t get a job until like February.  Things started to fall behind.  I had to take out a couple of loans from Army Emergency Relief (thank God for them!) to catch up.  But, it was only temporary.  I have never really caught up.  Now my rent is due…..it’s July and very hot, and I am NOT going to leave this house!  God must supply ALL of my needs according to His riches in glory!  Why?  Because I believe He will, and I am praying very hard, with tears, as to why He is testing us so!!  With all that is going on, why must we have to go through so much more?  I am feeling like Job again.

What to do, what to do.  The clock ticks the minutes, and hours and the days go by, one by one getting closer to THE day ~ when the rent is due, and when the lights will be turned off, etc., etc.  Life is hard.  For the young out there, it is NOT a cakewalk.  You have no one except family to care ABOUT you, and not always care FOR you.  They have their own responsibilities and expenses.  It isn’t required in the complicated world we live in today.  Oh for the days when several generations would live in one big home, like the Walton’s (sorry for the reference)!!  When we could enjoy our brothers and sisters, and grandparents all under one roof!

Today I look at the icons of Jesus Christ and pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon my family.”  I am threatened of life on the street and no place to stay, and yet my wife says she isn’t going anywhere.  Does she know something I don’t?  I have relatives staying with me from North Carolina, a daughter and granddaughter.  I was so relieved to see them, to have family near and dear, which I have missed so much.  My family is spread all over the country,  Florida, Michigan, California, North Carolina, and Arizona.  Why do families and children want to be so far from each other?  What has society done to these precious relationships?

God wants me to build His church, but then His church starts with my family, then it grows from there.  As a married Orthodox priest, I see how family is related to the Church and the Church to family.  The Church has helped us, but is unable to help us completely.  Thank God for what they could do!

Is this a plea for help?  Or is this an observation of someone in need maybe too proud to ask or to afraid of rejection?  It is probably both.  Some of you are subscribed to my blog and others aren’t.  I wish all my friends were subscribed to my blog.  Not just for this piece I am writing now, but for the instruction and writing that I have done to teach you the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, I fell asleep last night thinking on all these things.  I dreamt weird dreams, about raging rivers, and ragged rock faces, treacherous roads, and strangers hindering me.  I feel as though I am facing doom, but I know my Savior is near me and loves me, and will not let me down…..it’s just the process that really sucks!

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

My wife passed away July 29th 2008.

baptism

1 Peter 3:20-21, “which aforetime were disobedient, when the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…”

Baptism – the water of baptism, symbolizing the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, is the means of salvation to all those who receive the Holy Spirit in His quickening, cleansing efficacy. Now as the waters of the flood could not have saved Noah and his family, had they not made use of the ark; so the water of baptism saves no man, but as it is the means of his getting his heart purified by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ, and illustrates to him that purification.

John 3:5, “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born of water and spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Jesus asserted the obligation of (baptism) the outward rite, He asserted likewise, as its necessary complement, the presence and creating and informing energy of the Spirit with which John had promised that the coming one should baptize (Matthew 3:11). That as John’s baptism had been unto repentance, for the remission of sins, so the new life must include the real no less than the symbolic cleansing of the old, sinful life, and the infusion by the Spirit of a new and divine principle of life. Thus Jesus’ words included a prophetic reference to the complete ideal of Christian baptism – “the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Tit. 3:5; Eph. 5:26); according to which the two factors are inseparably blended (not the one swallowed up by the other), and the new life is inaugurated both symbolically in the baptism with water, and actually in the renewing by the Holy Spirit, yet so as that the rite, through its association with the Spirit’s energy, is more than a mere symbol: is a veritable vehicle of grace to the recipient, and acquires a substantial part in the inauguration of the new life. Baptism, considered merely as a rite, and apart from the operation of the Spirit, does not and cannot impart the new life. Without the Spirit it is a lie. It is a truthful sign only as the sign of an inward and spiritual grace. ~ M. R. Vincent

Titus 3:4-5, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…”

“The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” literally means “the laver of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.” It does not mean the act of bathing, but the bath, the laver. The phrase laver of regeneration distinctly refers to baptism, in connection with which and through which as a medium regeneration is conceived as taking place. It is true that nothing is said of faith; but baptism implies faith on the part of its recipient. It has no regenerating effect apart from faith; and the renewing of the Holy Spirit is not bestowed if faith be wanting. ~ M. R. Vincent

Ephesians 5:26, “having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”

“To be connected with having cleansed it by the laver of water: with the word describes that which accompanies the sacrament and which is the peculiar element of baptismal purification. Compare John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” St. Augustine says: “Take away the word, and what is the water but water?” ~ M. R. Vincent

When someone desires baptism, they are asked whether or not they have repented of their sins and placed their faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ. This is the “inquiry” spoken of in 1 Peter 3:21, and the answer is given, “I do repent of my sins, and I have placed my faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ…I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Lord.”

Therefore, it is clarified of what St. Peter said in Acts 2:38-39, “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.”