So I took the plunge...again.
I was able to give my testimony to those on the beach yesterday--August 7th, 2011--but if you weren't there, I can tell you why I did it again. If you have read my story, continue on. If not, read it first here.
After reading that post, you will know a bit more about me and what I believe. I did get baptized when I was 10. But what I didn't understand when I was 10 was why. But far more important that that....I didn't understand what salvation meant! You see, I believe that we can come to baptism not fully understanding it's meaning. We cannot, however, come to faith in Christ without understanding that He did it all for us, and there is nothing that we can do to earn His love. Nothing. We are simply called to put our faith in the fact that we are sinners, separated from God, and we are in need of a Savior. Jesus fulfilled the demands of justice on the cross as a final sacrifice. Sin deserves death. He gave us life. That is grace--a gift we don't deserve! I will not enter heaven on my own merits--what church I attended, how good I was, the fact that I lived a better life than others, or even the fact that I was baptized. (twice:) I only enter clothed in the righteousness of Christ. I wear His blood--the only thing that makes me good! But believing that salvation is something that can be earned or lost equates it with works-which was what I believed when I was 10. It then sets you up for misery and failure and the grief of knowing that you can never be good enough for God. Thank God that this teaching is untrue-- it is not about me!
So, that brings me to what I believe about baptism. I used to believe that baptism was a necessary step of salvation, and that if we failed to be baptized we would not be saved. I have come to believe now that this not the full truth. Baptism is a commandment of Christ following belief. Being unbaptized does not make you unsaved. You will never find a verse in the Bible that talks about infant baptism, or sprinkling. It is always carried out by immersion following conversion. (that rhymes..:) So, I believe that if you are truly saved, you will choose to obey and be baptized.
John 14:15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments."
There is a lot of confusion out there about the idea of the lordship of Jesus. I do not believe that you can pray a prayer and then spend the rest of your life in sin and assume that you are saved. Salvation requires repentance-a word that means to turn and walk in the opposite direction. The gift of the Holy Spirit in you moves you, transforms you, molds you, and makes you more like Christ. No, not perfection--that is not required-- but sanctification or progressive change. If you have the Holy Spirit and He is speaking in your life about an issue like baptism, He won't rest until you humble yourself and obey! Trust me on that one--I have been there!
|This is me giving my testimony with Pastor Phil looking on.|