On Baptism

It is time again for a devotional thought for the week. These are meant to encourage you, or to teach the truths of the Bible. They may even be controversial, but my prayer is that the reader will gain a new understanding of God’s plan, and apply it to his or her life.

I recently received a response to an article in which a question arose concerning the relationship of Christian baptism to a person’s salvation. I want to briefly share what I believe the Bible teaches.

In every New Testament reference to baptism following Jesus’ return to heaven, it is shown as something a person does as a testimony to their faith in Christ. It is symbolic of a person dying to sin and being raised to new life in Christ. Being placed under the water, or being sprinkled, whatever the case may be, indicates being buried. Then, coming up out of the water identifies that person with Christ’s resurrection and a new life.

Salvation comes first, then baptism. Therefore, I believe baptism is for the person who has reached the age of complete understanding of the concept that he or she is a sinner in need of a Savior, and is able to make that choice on their own.

In Acts 2:38, following Peter’s sermon the people asked “what shall we do?” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you…” And in verse 41, “Those who accepted his message were baptized.” Then, in Acts 8:12-13, we find “when they believed, they were baptized.”

It follows then, that the infant or toddler, or the person with reduced mental ability is not going to be condemned because they passed into the next life without experiencing baptism. I believe those are welcomed immediately it the arms of Jesus.

On the other hand, a person with the capacity for full understanding of sin and its consequences, will be held responsible for their acceptance or rejection of Christ’s offer of forgiveness of sin. Whether or not they have been baptize has no bearing on their salvation. This I believe.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry

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