Last night three personal Bible study students realized that baptism in Jesus name is the point in time in which a person receives forgiveness of their sins and is saved (Mark 16:15,16, Acts 2:36-41,47, 22:16, Galatians 3:26,27, 1 Peter 3:21).
Previously they had believed that forgiveness and salvation came before baptism and that baptism was only a testimony of already being saved. An immersion/baptism they had all participated in.
Now they stand at the crossroads of decision. Do they get rebaptized in order to be baptized for the biblical purpose of forgiveness of sins or do they claim their previous baptism, only changing their belief about the purpose of baptism and teach it hence forth. Could it be correct to believe that if one is baptized with an unbiblical understanding of its purpose, but in Jesus name, that God would overlook that and impute the salvation of biblical baptism anyway?
My advice to them was to consider the account of Acts 19:1-7 where twelve men were baptized a second time. I encouraged them to ask why?
I then shared my story which includes having once been at the same crossroads. My decision was to be rebaptized in order to not only have obeyed the right form of baptism (i.e. immersion) but also the right purpose for it (i.e. forgiveness of sins). I remember saying to God something like, ” I did not want to face Jesus in judgement and say I thought I obeyed you and possibly be rejected, when I can obey what I know the Bible says now about the correct reason for baptism and be saved for certain.”
I also encouraged them to read a number of baptism scriptures in addition to the ones in our study and ask what role form and function/purpose play in valid baptism. We ended the study session on that note.
Please pray that they come to a biblical decision.
In this post I have said “I” instead of my usual “we” because my study partner did not make it to the study. This has occurred a few times. Please pray that circumstances work out for us to conduct this study together.
Your partnership in this work through prayer is greatly appreciated!