Questioning why to be baptised
When people come to question their faith and do find an other group may have something more to offer them or has the truth and can bring them closer to God, they often wonder why such church or group demands that they become baptised. Roman Catholics and many others who belonged to one or another protestant church consider them baptised and do find it strange the new group they want to join demands from them again a baptism.
In many discussions on the net and in articles in newspapers we do find heated discussions whereby lots of people do not see what the Bible really considers a baptism. If they would understand that they could come to see that in a way they never had a real baptism, being sprinkled with some water when they were a baby. In any case they themselves had nothing to say in it and could not choose for God,to be baptised or not.
Strangely enough there are also churches which demand a new baptism for people who were a member of their church, went the wrong way for some time but came back. They consider a writing from John.
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. Revelations 2 vs 5
The above scripture has been the standard bearer for a lot of churches which uses it to command backslidden members who have returned to the fold to ‘do their first works’ and be re-baptised.
However, it has been a bone of contention for others as they do not see the need once they have repented of their sins to be baptised a second or a third time.
Wrong or right, they argue that the mere fact that, they were baptised as an infant or that they were sincere when they got baptised, strayed and returned with a very penitent heart then there is no need to ‘show an outwards evidence of an inward conviction’ once more.
Conversion and works of faith
Pastors though make the argument that baptism follows conversion (an act which demands work) and to show that the old man has been buried with Christ … hence the need to ‘repeat the first works’. Calling on such work they also contradict themselves claiming that all people are saved and no one need any works. Therefore we can ask them if no body needs any works of faith or has nothing to do, why do they have to let themselves be baptised. And should that not happen after they repented over their missteps? (A work they should do once more) [In articles like (Part 2) Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation?, 2 Responses to ““Christadelphians”” and Salvation you may find people who say no works are needed, still they too demand baptism and even speak of hell as a burning place for those who keep not on the right track — but can that not only be done by doing works or following God His commandments, which demands work?]
Grace a free Gift from God
Such people telling no works are necessary any more, do forget that Grace is God His offering to move heaven and earth to “save man from all the masks they are wearing” and to get them back on the road to the gates of God’s Kingdom. He offers all people a life free from all the guilt and shame. They just have to take it, it is for free … but they have to do something with it. It is useless when people who received such an incredible gift do not use it. And that is what many are doing, leaving that gift untouched, not making use of it in their life and not being thankful for the Giver.
Gift and gratitude
Being thankful, showing gratitude, is already an act or a work of taking an attitude, but according such preachers that is not even necessary. They want to have their readers to believe no works are necessary. This would mean people do not have to repent (= a work of faith), have not to get baptised (because that would imply again an act or a work of faith), do not have to live according to the Law of God (because that would demand in many instances a lot of work, to stay with the right thoughts, to control your self in all circumstances, – not lying, not cheating, not steeling, not setting an eye on other women or men, or worse). We do find it strange that they want others to believe no works are needed any more and that no matter people fornicate or murder they are saved.
Before being baptised
According to the Bible it is not so simple, we do have to come to God (a work) and we do have to live (work) in a good relationship with God. Fist we have to find God (which may be a result of seeking = a work). Before becoming baptised a person has to seek Christ also and have to find this Messiah (which demands a work to be done). After that person came to believe in God, he has to come to believe in that person sent one from God or to come to believe in Jesus (an act to be taken or work to be done) to try to come in a good relationship with his heavenly Father (again a work). To come into such a good relationship with God the first steps people have to undertake, and as such do have to fulfil works, is to repent over their sins they have already committed. Next they have to promise to try not to sin any more, which shall demand again lots of work for many people. After those steps the work is not finished yet. Then the person has to prepare himself or herself to become ‘re-born‘. In front of a whole community or just with the preacher who is baptising him or her, he or she shall have to come before God and be humble enough to go into the water and to let himself or herself be completely immersed in water as a symbol of whitewashing and giving himself or herself into the hands of Christ.
Concerning baptism and re-baptism ‘Family and Religion‘ reached out to Reverend Norman King, chairman of the May Pen Minister’s Fraternal and pastor of May Pen Open Bible Church for answers on the issue.
State of conscience
Responding to the question on whether a second baptism is necessary, he said it all depends on how far gone a person is in sin and the state of their conscience.
“For example, a person may ‘backslide‘ so often that he or she would need a weekly baptism. In this case, King said it would be good to make use of 1 John 1 vs 9 –
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
According to King, baptism was designed to be a once only activity as quoted in Ephesians 4:5,
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism”.
Addressing the verse which sees many putting their interpretations on it, he said
‘return and do thy first works’ is actually motivated by ‘first love’.
Here too he went in against their group or church’s idea no works are needed. Though such contradictions we often find one after the other by such claimants of ‘no works’.
They also seem to forget that “One baptism” talks about the real baptism, which is a baptism by going under water and no infant baptism, child-baptism or a baptism by a little bit of water which is sprinkled over the person’s head, above a ‘baptism’ or fountain-basin.
Furthermore those who claim no works are needed but keep fearing their church members by hellfire, which if they do not have to do any works, would never come to them in the first place, because they don’t have to do any works according to their preachers. Naturally such teachings are unscriptural, having paid for the sins by death, no other penalty is demanded by God. But, when not having come to God in time, too late to repent and to have decided to come under Christ, the Bible warns than it would be too late, and than the Free Gift of Grace shall have served no use, because than the person shall simply die and not be able to enter the Kingdom of God.
Being baptised no exclusion of being able to do good and or bad
All people should know that even when a person is baptised he or she can do good but also bad works. Even a baptised person can do evil .. be aware of that … and make no mistake. Though some preachers also do believe or want their flock to believe that a ‘re-born’ person cannot sin.
Though several churches do have to admit they can find sinners in their community. They encountered such baptised members going astray. And some churches even go so far to demand a re-baptising of such persons.
“However, work had taken on the cloak of religious acceptance, rather than inspired by love. Think about a marriage where duties are done, but love has grown cold. Work needed to be re-fired by love of Christ and the brethren” .
He stressed that he did not see a correlation in the passage in Revelation relating to baptism.
“The emphasis is on someone doing something. Baptism on the other hand, is having something done to you. Also note that the passage did not say work singular, but works plural. This was to be ongoing activities, not single instances. The instruction was to repent, not keep on repenting,”
A person that’s truly born again is a changed man/woman and their desires are now for the will of God. Though we may not forget we may love God dearly and want to desire to do His Holy Will, we shall have to struggle at certain moments not to go wrong. Those ‘no-works’ fellows mislead their flock, presenting them that once baptised and saved for ever it will not be difficult any more for them, they will not have to suffer any more (because enduring suffering is a work) and life would be easy for them, not to worry any more about their salvation.
though people seriously should always worry about their salvation and staying on track. and when they are ‘re-born’ and so called free of sin how is it than possible they would go wrong?
How can a person revert back to something that they are not? It’s like vomiting and somehow you take delight in scooping that same vomit into your plate.
Re-baptism in order
Bearing in mind that a second baptism is not mentioned in the Bible, King said one should be guided by Romans 14:23
“…whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
King pointed out
“So if one’s conscience will be in turmoil, then re-baptism is in order. Also if the community may be greatly offended, then re-baptism can be arranged.”
Addressing those who refuse a second baptism and doesn’t see the need for another, King said their salvation does not depend on it.
“Think of the thief on the cross. He did not make it to the baptismal pool. Salvation comes through faith in Christ. However, it is a necessary response where possible, showing obedience to Christ’s command,”
Cause of justification
Let us not forget the cause of justification is because God has accepted the offering as a Lamb of His sent one, the only begotten beloved son of God, who gave his life for our sins. It was not because God came down to earth to fake His temptation (because God cannot be tempted) nor to fake His death, nor to fake his coming out of hell after three days (what would God have to look for there?) and fake a resurrection from the dead (because God can not die) and than telling He is no spirit [which would contradict His other saying that He is an eternal Spirit, having no bones, no flesh and no blood (all things Jesus had)].
The justification comes over us because God accepted the ransom offering and allows salvation to come to us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the sent one from God who is a son of man and the son of God, not a god son nor God Himself bringing a charade and letting man wait still such a long time before all the suffering comes to an end.
God has given His only begotten beloved son given the authority to judge. There is only a reason to judge when there has to be done a judgement, which shall happen at the end of times, when Jesus shall judge the living and the dead. In case all who would be saved by the Grace given by God, without a need of any acts or works, than there would be no one to judge for, but because there shall be people, also so called Christian ones or baptised people, who will not have loved according to the expectations of Christ Jesus, according to the Will of God, those people shall miss the entrance of the small gate and not be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God.
Christadelphians do believe a person has to come to the act of faith after having done the work of seeking God, and seeking Jesus (again a work). We also believe we are given the Grace free. All people can receive it for nothing. But all people have something to do with it. And that is the work we call a person has to do, to run the race and to be able to enter the small gate of the Kingdom of God. Without any effort we shall not reach the goal.
Where works are absent, we can comfortably conclude a person has not encountered the grace of God. Grace positions us to walk in the good works we were created for (Ephesians 2:10). It is a misnomer to
“prefer to live our old life and…keep sinning without showing remorse”
if indeed we have encountered grace
“No one born of God makes a practise of sinning” (1John 3:9)
but does every effort to live according God’s Will. The one under Grace having become a child of God makes an effort (which demands lots of work sometimes) not to sin and as such like the apostle John says
“he cannot continue sinning, because he has God as his Father.” (CJP)
The one born of God who “cannot sin” means not that he is not able to sin, but that he is not allowed to sin.
“No one who is born of God makes a practice of sinning, because the God-given life-principle continues to live in him, and so he cannot practice sinning, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9 Williams)
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