I was reading a post on Facebook that made mention of the issue of baptism. One of the noteworthy things it stated is that you can be assured of going to heaven if you are baptized. Well, to be sure, this is a lightning rod issue. While it is true that there are many Christian denominations that believe in baptism as requisite to eternal salvation, the Scripture can be interpreted as vague on this topic. Many churches believe in the “sacraments” – that is those things that are sacred and depending on the situation, are necessary for salvation. And this is something of a conundrum for many of us.
Biblically, baptism always comes after a profession of faith and this would eliminate all young children and infants from being baptized – as they are incapable of professing their own faith. But centuries ago, infant baptism was started as a way to provide “protection” for those who were not old enough to take care of their own salvation. Obviously, to this day, many denominations still practice this form of baptism. The Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic faiths are examples of this practice.
On the other hand, Baptists, Evangelicals and a host of other Christian denominations believe that baptism is not a pre-requisite for salvation. They tend to advance the argument that one must only “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” and that everything past that is in obedience to God – wanting to please Him because they love Him and He loved them first. In other words, baptism is a response of obedience after a profession of faith.
Now I know that readers of TBTB fall on both sides of this issue and it is up to you to decide what you believe – and that includes baptism as well as the Lord’s Supper, better known as communion. But the purpose of writing this evening is to let you know that whatever you believe, the most important thing to believe is that Jesus Christ died for your sins and the sins of every person who ever lived. While it is true that not everyone will accept the free gift of eternal life, the offer is open to all of us.
For those who don’t believe – well, they will be eternally separated from God and there is nothing that you can do about that. They must accept Jesus as Lord and Savior for themselves. As much as we may want to “believe” on behalf of our family members who may not care to accept God’s gift, that just isn’t how it works.
The verse for this evening is from 1 John 5:5, “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” In other words, when you choose salvation, life doesn’t end here, as you have overcome death. That means that you will eternally dwell with God in heaven. My encouragement this evening is to focus on the major decisions in your life – and that includes the choices about God and your acceptance of His offer. My prayer is that you will realize how important it is to educate others about the choices that hang in the eternal balance of their lives. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…