The Devil really IS in the details!

I will probably be thought of as a double-minded and unstable person because of this, but you know….I am just a human being, flawed like all of mankind and I am just endeavoring, sometimes in a hard-headed fashion, to know and teach the truth.

The Devil really has used me lately and for that I apologize.

I have learned the hard way that there are some things I will never understand or be able to explain. But, if I apply the same rule to myself that I ask others to observe, then things are really this simple:

God said it, so I must believe it! We cannot pick and choose the verses that suit our comfort zone or fit into our measly human reasoning. If Peter had told the believers at Pentecost they should be baptized and that was the only time it was ever said, who are we to say “Once doesn’t count.”? Yet baptism is described as being done immediately following the belief of new converts in almost every instance of of conversion in Acts. Do the exceptions to baptism being mentioned make the rule?

I did clarify one thing today, speaking to the elders today about my “issues” with baptism. They satisfactorily persuaded me that they are only Christians and do not believe they are the ONLY Christians. Let me clarify that they still maintain that since baptism is required, it must be obeyed by any God loving and God pleasing person and that it is the end result of any true discipling.  God disciples each person His way, until they come to the knowledge of their need for baptism. Just as God sometimes seems to take months or years to bring some of us to faith, so it is with bringing people to the point where they want to be baptized. Remember scripture affirms we are being saved. Do not put off baptism just because someone tells you it isn’t necessary. Satan also told Eve, “You surely will not die.” and look where that got her and us! Baptism is as necessary as our confession of faith in Jesus as Lord.  It is a process and it is not finished until we are in the presence of Christ at death or His return.

I don’t know how it works, I don’t know why it isn’t clearer, and I don’t know why Paul didn’t always bring baptism into the picture every time he talks about faith. But, he does baptize the jailer and household immediately. He does baptize Lydia and household immediately and he also tells us he understood Ananias to say that baptism would wash away his sins.

Simply then:

If you believe and trust in Christ for your salvation and truly repent in your heart, there is no reason to NOT be baptized. So just do it…OK? Don’t over analyze it or ask all these “what ifs?”. Just know in your heart that Jesus commanded it, God is pleased by it, and it identifies you with Christ in a very special way and Peter said it “now saves you” and “for the forgiveness of sins”. Do you or I know more than Peter about the will of God and Christ Jesus? I think not!

Remember that Jesus also told us things like “If you do not forgive other, your Heavenly Father WILL NOT forgive you.” Is that a contrary scripture to ” Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24 ESV) ?

Of course not! We cannot say that God will forgive us even if we hold a grudge against someone and won’t let it go.  Not if you believe what Jesus said in the second example.

Let us all just do our best to follow Jesus in every thing He did Himself and asks His disciples to do. Does anyone argue that the Great Commission applies to all believers? Why then must we question anything God asks us to do?

Just do it, and glorify God in the act of pleasing Him. I am done debating baptism. Just obey God’s word. You do not need to know how baptism works or worry about whether it was done “just right”. Do it in faith and in simple obedience and God WILL honor it.I apologize to anyone and everyone that I have caused to doubt that doing the will of God is wrong or not necessary. I was presumptuously wrong to infer that and please forgive me.

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by memnan on March 2, 2009 at 6:03 am

    I really don’t think you ever encouraged anyone NOT to be baptized…And, I truly agree with your post…we will never truly understand some things until we see Jesus face to face. Then, we will see eye to eye with each other, because then and only then will we be like Jesus.

    The ordinances of the church are given for our benefit and that is enough to know. Just do it!

  2. Posted by Joe on March 2, 2009 at 10:01 am

    PK,

    I know how you feel. I, too, have been going through the same issues of late. It seems the more we try to dissect our positions the more it is putting us at odds.

    Ironically enough, this past Sunday, the message was from Zechariah and focused heavily on baptism. It confirmed everything I understand from Scripture. It also confirmed what you discussed with your elders and my situation. I was saved in November 1999. The church I attended at the time did not have a baptistery. As such, I was not able to be baptized at that moment. As time went on, I passed up opportunities to attend baptisms at the beach, etc. Once I settled in at my present church, I realized that although I acknowledged Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I had not been obedient to His command to be baptized. Did that mean I wasn’t saved? I don’t think so, and there are plenty of Biblical references to back that up. However, if I call myself a follower of Christ, then I need to be obedient to Him as so I was baptized by immersion several years ago.

    But I understand your feelings with regard to this whole subject. I think we can only debate an issue so far. At the end of the day, we have to agree to disagree and leave it in God’s hands. The Bible says what it says. It’s God’s Word. It’s up to each person to read and understand what God has revealed. As you said, “just obey God’s Word.”

    Thanks PK.

    In Christ,

    Joe.

  3. Bless your heart Nancy!

    That really encourages me.

  4. Thanks for the kind words Joe.

    None of us have all the answers and I cannot untie all the knots…maybe even not most. But, I believe!

  5. Posted by Carol on March 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Oh sweet Jesus lovin brother of mine! Read Charles Spurgeon today March 2…you will be encouraged as I was!

    Peace and love in Christ!

  6. Posted by Carol on March 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    And I was not baptized til I was 20 something and I was born believing in Jesus…and my husband is not yet baptized but he clearly is saved! And he knows his need to be baptized and he will get her done in God’s timing! And when I was finally baptized I remember being so confused and bewildered and I did not even know what was going on….people were trying to control me and I was just plain confused but my confusion never nullified my faith. God is good!

  7. Carol dear,

    I trust you will understand I am not finding fault with you, just the way you put that. Jesus plainly said everyone must be born again. You may have been desirous of God since your first memory of knowing about Jesus, but you had to be born again. No one is born believing. They must hear the gospel first.

    When did your husband come to faith? The last I’d heard we were praying he would!!

  8. Posted by sreneetn1 on March 3, 2009 at 3:45 am

    Steve,

    I feel just as memnan feels in that I do to think you encouraged anyone NOT to be baptized – but were only questioning the strong stance that The Church of Christ teaches – and rightly so – – IF indeed their stance is that they teach and preach that if one is NOT baptized that they will go to Hell – are not saved. I have friends that are of The Church of Christ denomination, and that is their stance – strongly so – and proud of it. Though I too believe that one should be baptized simply because of Scriptures that entail such – though cannot make such a stand to claim that if one is not that they will go to Hell. Whew! No thanks!

    I am glad to see that you have resolved this issue in your mind and that God has revealed to you His working through this process – this refinement. There is no doubt God is using you, not only in an individual way, but also in a way that will shed His Light to others as well.

    Much love in Christ.
    sherry

  9. Posted by Carol on March 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Well, if I wasn’t born believing then I have no memory of conversion, makes no difference to me really. I do have something written of when I first dedicated my life to Him, but still, I don’t remember. I just always remember loving Him and I don’t ever remember a time when He was not with me. You see, eternal life to me is eternal and I feel as tho I have always been with God in some way shape or form…call me nuts, its okay, I’m pretty much okay with that. But I will pray about it, so that I may be sure. And my husband has been a believer since October of 2005, but has a long way to go! It’s like the parable of the sower. Some of us need to be planted and uprooted many times before we get to the good soil. And that is the case with me and mine but God is good and I love Him so much! Thanks for speaking truth, brother, and for not shying away from a crazy lady!

  10. Posted by Carol on March 3, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    June 23, 1988
    I surrendered my all to Jesus Christ my Lord.

    Just after my 11th birthday. In my cute little girl writing and with my childlike faith. So maybe I didn’t fully understand before then and that is when I was born again, but I remember He protected me from alot in my tender young years!

  11. Carol,

    That’s wonderful that you were privileged to believe in God from such an early age. I was privileged with a wonderful Christian family that made that possible for me, as well. We are definitely blessed.

    What I think PK is getting at, though, is that merely believing in God is not enough. James 2 makes that clear. That is why although Cornelius, in the book of Acts, believed in God he still had to hear the good news from Peter so he could make the proper commitment to Jesus Christ. That is what the Bible refers to as “faith.” When our belief in God and knowledge of His will and the gospel message meet in our trusting obedience in Jesus Christ then our conversion takes place.

    Think of it this way. Suppose you lived outside of the United States, but you think it would be a great place to make your home. To be a citizen in the country you must fulfill certain requirements, and even though you might like the US, appreciate what she stands for, or even believe in what the President is trying to do, you will not be a citizen until you do what the government has established is the procedure for becoming a citizen. Being a Christian is similar. It is even compared to being a citizen in the kingdom of God. But, even though we might admire what the kingdom stands for, and believe in the God of that kingdom, if we do not pledge to be a citizen according to the standards God has established, then we are still outside of the kingdom.

    Of course, it could be a process more than an all at once experience that leads you from ignorance to knowledge to belief to obedience, but the important thing is that to have a relationship with God we must put our trust in Him….which means we must do what His word tells us to do in order to become a Christian. Good thing Cornelius had Peter to teach him the “good news”…

  12. Posted by Carol on March 3, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks invisible mystery person of God! That really helped me understand. And thank you Steve, for looking out for your little sister! I truly love my invisible people…much more than some of my visible people I’m afraid…but God’s working that out too! Now if I could just remember who my Peter was! I have an awful memory! Hmmm, why is that God? Will you help me remember my life, please dear Lord?!!!!!

  13. Bring on “Baptism”. In in His word, so lets do it.
    Thanks for good post on it.
    Richard

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