I am writing this on the morning after I had the privilege of baptizing a person. That experience never gets old. It is an honor to assist somebody in this way. It is also a very humbling experience for me. It is difficult for me to wrap my brain around the fact that somebody like me can take a part in something that has eternal ramifications.
This particular person was not baptized on a Sunday, but on what was otherwise a normal weekday. Of course, the baptism changed all of that. There was nothing normal about that day or the rest of the week.
The decision to be baptized followed a long conversation and Bible study with a good friend. There was also a conversation that involved both of them and me prior to the actual act of baptism.
During that conversation, three words were used that I thought were interesting. That was especially true because of the background of the person who was baptized.
This person had been baptized at a fairly young age. Now as an adult, there was some real uncertainty about how much was understood, what kind of commitment was made, and a number of other things. I suppose that, in biblical terms, this dear soul had wrestled with the admonition penned by Peter to “…make your calling and election sure…” (2 Peter 1:10).
During the discussion with me, the friend used an interesting word. There was a desire expressed to the effect that the person wrestling with all of this needed to be more involved. Admittedly, during the number of years we have known each other, the attendance patterns and level of involvement have been fairly sporadic. It is my prayer that the decision that was made will, in fact, lead to a great zeal for the Lord.
The person who was considering baptism also used an interesting word. She thought that her baptism could and would help her to be better.
It was about at this point that I added my two cents’ worth. I expressed something about which both of the others agreed. I did not disagree with anything that had been said. After I said what was on my mind, there was agreement as well with my thoughts. It may be felt by some that I didn’t need to add anything, but I felt that something needed to be said before such an important step was taken.
Here (to the best of my recollection) is what I added to the conversation:
A person can be involved without being baptized and can be better
without being baptized, but the real need is for a person to be saved.
I fully realize that there are a great number of good people who are taught–and are teaching–that baptism plays either an insignificant role or no role at all in the salvation of an individual. That is the tradition, in fact, in which I was reared.
As kindly as I know how to ask anything, I would ask all who read this to consider the following:
- A person is a new creature/creation “in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17).
- Baptism is required in order for us to get “into Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).
- Repentance and baptism are for (in order to have) “the remission/forgiveness of sins” (Acts 2:38).
- Saul/Paul was told to “be baptized and wash away [his] sins” (Acts 22:16).
I know and am thankful for many good, moral, religious, and involved people. They would do nothing intentionally that would harm me in any way. I feel exactly the same way about them.
My only motivation for typing these words is the same as “…our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:3-4).
After the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write about the salvation of Noah and his family, He added these words:
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you — not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience — through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21, NASU, emphasis added).
It is possible, you know, for a person to have a good conscience even when they have been misinformed. After all, Paul would include his violent opposition to Christians in his statement that: “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day (Acts 23:1).
Thankfully, the person I baptized, and who inspired this article, now has a “good conscience” and can have that confidence because she can find what she did and the reason why she did it in the Bible.
I pray that all of us can have that same confidence.