As a culture we celebrate key moments in our lives: graduations, getting married, and becoming parents. Moments like these are so powerful that we remember the exact date on which they occurred and the exact place. We celebrate these unforgettable moments in our lives in the form of school reunions and wedding anniversaries. But what about other moments that define our lives, more negative moments? Moments in which we made a bad decision that negatively impacted our lives. It can feel like it opened a pit that once we fall into it we can’t get out. When a loved one dies, the day they died is seared into our memories like fire. To us it seems like nothing good can ever happen on that day because of the terrible loss that took place.

One of the greatest aspects about the God we serve is his ability to redeem our darkest moments and ease the pain of our most painful memories. The most powerful demonstration of how God redeems us of our past failures, secret sins, and the scars of our past is through what Jesus did for us on the cross. By giving his own life for ours Jesus cleansed us of our sin and made us right with God again. Paul says in the books of Romans, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:5-8, ESV). All we must do to receive God’s gift of salvation is to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead. The Bible says if we do this we will be saved.

So how does all this tie into baptism? I’m glad you asked. Baptism is a powerful demonstration of how God makes us a new creation. When you are dunked under water during baptism it’s symbolic of the old you, the sinful you, sharing in Christ’s death. When you rise up, the new you shares in Jesus’s resurrection. We rise as a new creation! Those negative memories and experiences no longer define who we are. We now find our identity, hope, and future in our savior Jesus Christ.

I was baptized twice in my life. The first time was as a baby in the Catholic church. As well-intentioned as this was by my parents, it didn’t count. Baptism is a public declaration of what God’s already done on the inside of you. It’s a statement to the world that you have decided to follow Jesus and you are no longer the same person you once were. My second baptism took place years after I had already accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior. God had been tugging at my heart to get baptized and make that public declaration of what He’s already done in my life. When I was baptized it felt like I had graduated into a mature Christian man. I was no longer ashamed or afraid of what others might think. It was like the lyrics of this song, which I unfortunately don’t know the title to, “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.” That’s the statement we make when we are baptized, and if you have not made that statement then I encourage you to do so. Let God begin to heal those painful memories as he makes you a glorious new creation!