Our church has experienced something of an epidemic since October of last year. More than a few people, men, women and youth have come to the altar requesting Believer’s Baptism. Not because they have all come to that point of realization that they did not have the personal relationship with Jesus that they thought they did, although some have come because of that, but because they got the baptism before the salvation. (Or the point of beginning that personal relationship.) It has personally impacted our family but there have been a lot more people than our family members.
Does this concern me? Yes and no.
Yes because of the number of children who have now entered their “tween” or teenage years who have come forward explaining they weren’t really having a personal relationship with Christ before because they didn’t understand what that meant. They didn’t understand the cost of discipleship, the daily taking up of their cross to follow Jesus, or what following Jesus in this world with its viewpoints could or would entail.
When our own daughter experienced this I remembered how her father and I talked about whether to encourage or allow her to be baptized at a young age (she was nine) or not. We both know personally, people who make this decision at ages as young as five and it is genuine. We both know personally, people who have made this decision at ages well above the childhood years and it wasn’t genuine. Since a personal relationship with Jesus is personal it isn’t for anyone else to tell you whether what you’re experiencing is genuine or not. So you proceed in prayer.
In time God is going to reveal misguided decisions. In time God will make it right. IF you are willing to listen. IF you obey. That’s why no.
Here’s the most important part of becoming a Christian, a Believer, a Follower of Jesus Christ, a Disciple of the One True and Living God – you have to decide. When God reveals the truth you have to be willing to admit the truth, decide to accept his offer of a personal relationship with him and, in our denomination, that means setting following through with believer’s baptism.
Believer’s baptism occurs after one becomes a believer, after one enters into a personal relationship with God.
Regardless of whether your baptism was before or after your salvation, the most important thing is you have a personal relationship with Christ on his terms. Baptism in itself means little more than you got wet if it wasn’t a believer’s baptism. So my question to you is simple I think. Do you have a personal relationship with Christ?
I’ve laid the plan of salvation out before on my blog but today I do so again below.
“I’m not asking you if you go to church, belong to a church, were baptized as a baby, have been baptized as an adult but not as a true Believer in Jesus Christ. I’m asking you have you been born again? When your earthly life is over, where will your spirit reside? Heaven or hell. In the presence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or in Hades in the presence of Satan? Do you KNOW Jesus personally, intimately, deeply, truthfully?
If you aren’t sure, please read the following scriptures. If you do not have a Bible (and if you don’t and you would like one please leave me a comment) there are multiple on-line sources you can utilize to find these scriptures yourself and I encourage you to do so. Be sure what I quote to you is what these scriptures read in the Bible. I’ve used the New International Version (NIV) if you look these passages up in a Bible of another translation (King James, New King James, English Standard Version, The Living Bible – for example) the words won’t be the same but the meaning should be.
These first eight scripture passages are sometimes referred to as the Roman Road. They will walk you through the steps to becoming born again, and help explain why and how that happens. The Gospel of John is my suggestion for your first venture into reading and understanding the Word of God. It is one of my personal favorites in the New Testament.
Romans 1:20-21 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Romans 10:13 “…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 11:36 “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every 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.”
The Gospel of John 3:16-18
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”