Disclaimer– this post by no means is meant to down baptism. This post is written to share that many people put a lot of faith, and hope into the act of baptism itself. It is not about the act but about Jesus Christ, above all. Baptism is nothing without Him being the reason and desire we decide to be baptized.
If you were a Jewish man in the Old Testament it was required you be circumcised. Now, if you are Christian, there is the push for being baptized.
Last week I talked about church, and this week is baptism. The timing of things God puts on my heart. Readers, get ready. Also, hear me out first. 🙂
I am aware many believers believe as a Christian you must be baptized, sometimes in order to get to Heaven.
If you have been around my blog for a bit, you may have picked up on the fact I am very open on discussing how Christians still make a lot of things in the Bible, or how our walk with Christ should be, extremely legalistic. Ways we can honor God by giving up certain behaviors or choices are stripped from believers and turned into requirements.
In this manner, believers try to step between the relationship of a fellow believer or sinner who is considering Christ and try to intervene and dictate what must be done. This way of thinking by Christians is the same way of thinking Christian Jews struggled with.
They believed a man still had to be circumcised even after receiving the salvation of Christ. People believed they were righteous through works (of their own doing). Circumcision represented being righteous in the law. But Paul points out how easy it is to fall by the law as well, making the act of circumcision pointless.
(NIV) Romans 2:25, “Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.”
Paul also points out how by following the law, which acknowledged we are full of sin, we cannot be justified by this law.
(NLT) Romans 3:20, “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.”
Simply put, just because we do something that by itself is righteous or holy, that does not make us righteous or holy. It does not strengthen our bond with Christ.
Baptism is often looked in the eyes of other believers like circumcision. It is a requirement, like circumcision used to be. It is viewed as a way to receive salvation/entry to Heaven like circumcision showed a person was righteous and connected to God.
First things first. Baptism will not get you to God. Baptism is not salvation, it is separate. Jesus Christ is the only One who can connect us to God and give us salvation.
(NIV) John 14:06, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Notice, it does not say “Water is the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through water.”
Which leads me to the next point. To be baptized is the baptism of water. It makes no sense to believe that water itself can save us and place us in Heaven. Even John the Baptist talks about this.
(NIV) Matthew 3:11,”I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
John was baptizing people before the death and resurrection of Christ. He introduced baptism because he was preparing the way for Christ. The washing of water is symbolic of Christ washing away our sins, there was no power in the act itself yet people treat it as such, like circumcision.
There is a reason why Christ is the Living Water.
(NLT) John 7:38-39, “Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'(When He said “living water,” He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into His glory.)
When Jesus Christ died and resurrected on the third day He fulfilled the Law, becoming the Law, and He became our way to not only repentance but also salvation and redemption. (Romans 3:21-26)
True baptism is in His spirit, not physical water.
(NIV) 1 Corinthians 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body–whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
(NLT) Romans 3:22, 24, “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. (Jew or Gentile) Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Being baptized does not guarantee an entry to Heaven. It is not the way to salvation. It does not make us righteous or holy. Baptism often times is used for approval among man, like circumcision once was.
(NIV) Romans 2:28, “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.”
If all we have is an outward form of baptism of water, that does not make us a follower of Christ. It does not mean anything except maybe to people feeling justified by man and man’s law.
As stated in the 1 Corinthians scripture, we are baptized by the Spirit. Our hearts need to reflect this baptism of the Holy Spirit we received after repenting of our sins, following Christ, and turning away from the flesh desires of this world.
(NIV) Romans 2:26, “So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?”
If a believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit because of salvation and reflects a change because of Jesus Christ, does that not show a person is baptized through Jesus Christ?
Our salvation is so much more than a priest (a mortal) dunking us in water.
(NLT) Romans 2:29, “No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”
If a believer/nonbeliever is baptized by water, but inwardly their heart is hollow, and they do not have a true relationship with Jesus Christ, does this not show that they have not been baptized by Jesus Christ?
Do we really want to face God on judgment day, and say, “Sure, I did not talk to You daily. I did not understand Your word or seek Your guidance. But I was baptized.”
It has NOTHING to do with our works, but everything to do with Him. Baptism is a beautiful way to say to the Lord, and to be accountable in the presence of others, that you want your life to be about Christ. Baptism is something we get to do. It is something special. A very symbolic and outward way to show your devotion. But that’s all it is.
Our walk with Him comes from our heart and daily interaction.
We need to stop making assumptions about a person’s walk and daily relationship with Christ, and we need to stop playing God and making judgments because we will be held accountable.
(NLT) Romans 2:09, “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.”
Monthly Scripture- (NIV) Psalms 62:01-02, 05, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.”
*** Community Prayer Request | August ’18 – Join Me In Praying For Each Other And If You Have A Request To Add Let Me Know. A New Prayer Request Post Comes Out Every Month And Is Updated As Requests And Updates Come In.
Second Blog: Peeking Beneath