"John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." Mark 1:14
I was in college, and had been a Christian just over a year. I told my mentor that I didn't need to be baptized. And he agreed.
In a sense I was right. Baptism (as with any other good work) could not earn me any more favor with God. I was saved by faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9), and since there was no huge benefit for being baptized, I logically reasoned that it wasn't worth it.
To his credit, the man in our church who was mentoring me didn't push hard or try to make me feel guilty. He explained that baptism was a way to identify with Jesus, and to publicly proclaim what God had done in my life. And then he calmly said, "I just want you to give it some thought and prayer."
I agreed, and we left it alone.
"Did You Hear?"Months later, after a weekend retreat led by a Christian organization, I was studying one evening (as I spent plenty of time doing while at Furman).
A friend brought a welcomed interruption, and sat down at my table. Almost immediately, she asked me, "Did you hear the great news? A_____ became a Christian during the weekend!" She was grinning ear-to-ear.
I was confused. "I thought she already was?"
"No," she answered, "She accepted Jesus as her Savior on the last day. Isn't that awesome?!"
"Umm. Yeah. Of course it is."
Easily MistakenOur mutual friend, A_____, had been a part of that Christian group all year, and was at every weekly meeting, as far as I knew. So I just assumed she had been a Christian.
But the only reason she came each week was because the invitation of that teammate. She wasn't a believer, and I never knew.
That's when it hit me. How many people didn't know that I was a follower of Jesus? Are there others who think I'm just going through the motions?
The next time I met with my mentor, I told him, "I need to be baptized. I need to be as clear as I can that I am a Christian."
He smiled as I told him the story of my friend A_____.
I was baptized at our young church's first baptism, on July 13, 1997.
I'd love to hear from you: Have you been baptized as a follower of Jesus? When?
"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." (Romans 6:3-7)
- 10 Principles for Shepherding My Child Through Salvation and Baptism
- Is My Child Ready for Baptism? Part 1 (Theology) and Part 2 (Probably Not)
- Is My Son Ready for Baptism?
- Baptism Before Communion?