Unimaginable Grace

Last Thursday I posted about a situation I had with a friend who wanted to be immersed, but his chances of doing so were almost impossible.  Here’s what happened…

My new friend has terminal cancer.  He’s in the hospital and will not make it out.  He had spiritual baggage the likes I have rarely seen.  He was scared.  He just wanted to find peace, forgiveness, and assurance of an eternity with God.  We chatted about those things last week.  We looked at scripture.  He wanted to be immersed.  I pursued every avenue I could, but it wasn’t going to happen.  That night, I consulted with some trusted friends, just wanted to get some other brains around this situation.  They gave me excellent thoughts.

The next day, I went to see my friend with some other people that had recently impacted his life.  I took his confession of faith in Jesus Christ.  I then helped him obey as best as he could.   We washed him with wet washcloths from head to toe.  One of the people present started softly humming “Just As I Am.”  When we finished, my friend opened his eyes and started weeping, thanking us for what we had done.  He started praying, thanking God for us.  He stated that he already felt better.

I went back to see him on Monday.  He was a changed man.

His fear was gone.  You could see it in his face–even his color was better.  His outlook was completely different.  He was finally at peace.  He finally had hope that he never had before.  He wanted to tell everyone he saw about his new faith.  The only thing he was concerned about was not being able to get out of his bed in order to get out and tell people his story.  Little did he know that his story was already impacting lives.

One of the people I consulted used my friend’s story to challenge the leaders of his church to take a fresh look at grace.  He said each of his leaders left that gathering with a whole new appreciation for the unimaginable grace of God.  When I told my new friend this had happened, he teared up.  All he could say was, “That’s great!”  He is now at peace with the hope of an eternity with Jesus.

I’m still an immersion guy.  When people want to be baptized, I point them to the examples we have in the Bible (which are all immersions).  But I also have an even greater appreciation for the unimaginable grace of God through Jesus Christ.  All because of the faith of a friend living out his final days who just wanted to find peace with God.

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About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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5 Responses to Unimaginable Grace

  1. Aaron Snow says:

    This is an incredible story, and one I will be sharing during our Student CPx’s when we go through our Baptism & Communion stuff. We do, and have always taught that Baptism is necessary, and should happen as soon as possible by the recent “convert”, and should be done by the person who discipled them. (We do not get crazy about whether or not a person is “truly saved” if not Baptized because of obvious reasons like the one in your story above) – we simply teach that making a decision to follow Christ and Baptism go hand in hand..they are one in the same, but of course, one takes a physical act that may not be possible by all. This seems to really be a silly issue if I think about it. People want to argue their doctrine back and forth and I wonder if God isn’t just like, “Come on guys, you’re missing the point”. While I believe, and we teach that “full submersion” is preferred if possible, it may not always be possible/practical. So, we say to step out in faith and obedience with where you’re at and what you have. We share a story about a team that was in an area of the world where water was so scarce that people were DYING of thirst. How in God’s holy name could we expect to FULLY Immerse someone in a big enough body of water when it may or may not be the ONLY water for drinking, watering crops, or livestock!? In this story we share that the team actually Baptized a new believer with a bucket of sand. Yep, you heard properly. Now, was God any less pleased by this act of faith and obedience? I doubt it. The new believer openly shared how they had been transformed by Christ in front of a village of lost people, and then shared how this “Baptism” (even with sand) was a necessary act of obedience that symbolized the washing away of sins, the old being gone, and new creation that is in Christ. Death to self, and resurrection. At Student CPx we have Baptized students in dorm room bathtubs, campus fountains, and with buckets of water out on the concrete. All are beautiful, and pleasing to God. I get confused thinking about how someone could really argue and fight that our loving and gracious God could devalue/discredit someone’s act of obedience based upon such a detail. It’s a lot like communion to me…is Christ really concerned with what is “said”, that we use unleavened bread, grape juice or wine? Or, is He more concerned that we celebrate Him with a community of like-minded people, remembering His body that was broken and His blood that was shed (whether it be with a granola bar and Sprite, or a table full of delicious food, water, tea, beer, or wine.) Sorry, I’m REALLY passionate about these two subjects, and ULTRA encouraged by your story! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Doug says:

    This is a GREAT story of someone who’s heart was truly transformed, even though “true form” was not possible. At what point do we stop deciding ourselves what God’s grace will and won’t cover? I don’t say this to downplay baptism either, but I feel like there are many modern day Pharisees around. We argue for the “truth” about baptism and other issues, when Jesus said that He IS the truth, so if we concentrate on leading people to Him and not just to the “right answers”, maybe we could get somewhere in this world. Does grace not cover a persons exact view or ability for baptism? Who decided that? “It’s okay for me to be glutonous, but you had better be baptized, and not only that, you had better know every detail as to why you were baptized, or it was no good”.

    Thanks for the great post. I really enjoy the organic, originally-intended way that you view the church. eep encouraging!

  3. man, I welled up with tears when I read this. You’re doing great ministry here in greenville. I know you came for “different” reasons but praise God for the place you are right now! Keep up the work. I’m praying for you and your family.

  4. levi says:

    Great story Aaron. I think we don’t fully comprehend the limitlessness of God’s grace. Looking forward to heaven and all of those covered by his unmeasurable grace.

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