June 17, 2005


While cleaning out some old email, I came across an old piece I wrote about Baptism. A friend of mine was baptized not too long ago, and another one is considering it in the next few weeks. I wanted to post it again, as I so fondly remember the day Kevin and I chose to give our lives to God. I have a photo of us at Olan Mills that day, holding our infant son. We had to leave church (fully dressed), get baptized in our Bible teacher's pool, and then rush home to get re-dressed for our photo. It is a great portrait, even factoring in the rush and stress of redressing. Someone made the comment to me that we look so happy in that picture we are almost "glowing". Well - I would say so! That was the first day of our spiritual lives. Not only did we give our hearts and lives to Jesus, wash away our sins, and start afresh... but we did it together. Life is so much more fun when you share it with others... when you "Give it away" as the Bible school song goes... So here's my Baptism Essay - enjoy!

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On Baptism...

I once heard a great little story that so simply explained the baptism issue. I thought I would share it with you all.

One night, a fire broke out in a little house. The Father and Mother both got out and their little girl was trapped with fire on all sides except the balcony on the second story where she was. Her father, desperate to save her, called out to her - HONEY, JUMP INTO MY ARMS!!!! I WILL CATCH YOU. The little girl looked behind her shoulder at the flames, looked WAY down at her Daddy below... And deciding to trust him, she jumped.

What saved her – the BELIEF she had that her father would save her… or the OBEDIENCE she displayed to his command to jump?

Neither one... Her father's arms.

...But would she have been saved if she had not trusted (had faith) and not jumped (obeyed)? Doesn't the old hymn say "Trust and Obey - for there's no other way"... Our obedience is required - no matter how you want to look at it. It is not the water of baptism which saves - it is God's grace... But we have all heard this before. It isn't something new. I am sure that you all know the verses related to baptism (a short search on Biblegateway.com under baptism/baptized will give you tons if you want to read them all yourself again) - otherwise you wouldn't be having this discussion...

The simple fact is this... Jesus, perfect Savior, God's Holy Son, without SIN, went down into the waters of the Jordan and was baptized by John. He said that "it was proper to do this to fulfill all righteousness". God was pleased with him and visibly so - and we are supposed to follow in His footsteps. If Jesus did it and we are supposed to obey and follow in His footsteps... Why would we want to teach that it isn't necessary? Have YOU been baptized? Shouldn't we then teach that it is "proper to fulfill all righteousness" and it is "pleasing to God" and lead others to do it - rather than making an issue of it?

Are we totally submitted to God's authority if we lead His children astray? His words are so simple that they confound the wise and analytical... And make us go around and around on these simple issues - trying to make things much harder then He ever intended.

Another story that explains the power of obedience is the story of Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram in 2 Kings 5. A slave girl from Israel told him of the power of the prophets which came from God to heal the sick. His master allowed him to travel to seek his health. Elisha told him, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed." He was angry and went away complaining. He was expecting something more than this silly request - something easy and quick and less awkward maybe? How could the water in the muddy Jordan be any better than the clean rivers of Damascus? Why would God require this? His heart was full of questions as the text reveals. But Naaman's servants are of simple mind - and must have loved their master... Vs. 13 Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!"

And Naaman's heart - while still having a seed of doubt - chose to obey God. And his flesh was restored "like that of a young boy's" - and he then knew that "there is no God in all the world except in Israel".

Would Naaman have been healed had he not obeyed? That is the question here - with Naaman's leprosy and our baptism. Are we really sure that God doesn't require us to submit to his orders? With verses like these, I certainly don't want to lead anyone astray:

1 Peter 3:21
and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[ 3:21 Or response] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, ...

Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:38
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:18
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,

Acts 16:33
At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Acts 19:5
On hearing this, they were baptized into[ 19:5 Or in] the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 22:16
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'

Galatians 3:27
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

I know all the arguments on this case. I know that we are not saved by works... And baptism is not a work. It is an act of obedience in response to our Faith. (James 2 - Faith without works is dead - remember. Even the demons believe and tremble.) I also believe that there are exceptions to this rule. The thief on the cross was under mosaical law. Jesus had not died yet and the Holy Spirit had not come down in force at Pentecost yet... And God is in heaven and does what he pleases. Who am I to say that one can not be saved apart from baptism? I am nothing but a servant. I know only what My Master and Savior has done. I teach nothing but what My Master and Savior has asked that I teach. I don't tell anyone who is or is not saved. I only tell them what Jesus did and let them decide in their heart what they must do. I know that my only goal is to please my savior and Father in Heaven... And I know what pleases Him from His Word.

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Kandi said...

Thank you for your boldness this writing. How awesome to find another believer!!

marineswife said...


Dandelion Seeds said...

Came across this... wonderfully written.

In Him,

Sprittibee said...

Thanks Kandi... we really do need to get together. ;)

Marineswife - I know this comment is rather late, but thanks for stopping in to leave your AMEN!

Amy - Thank you, but all glory should go to the Lord. :) He makes learned men as fools and children as wise - He is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was awesome and sure took out the I've been working on college homework all day duldrums away. The scriptures you listed are so clear about Gods plan. I would also like to share for me it was Romans chapter 6th that removed the veil of confusion for me. God is good. Have a blessed day.

AllyJo said...

Sister, you speak with such boldness. This was an encouragement for me to find. I didn't know anyone believed in baptism any more. Thank you for the seeds you have thrown out. May God bless their growth. Something else which convicted me was Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus in John 3. God bless you richly!

Marlene said...

Thank you so much for researching, writing this. I am concerned b/c my son, who is 33, has not been baptized, yet he believes.
I believe he would have a closer walk with the Lord if he followed Him in this step, but he always wanted to be baptized 'in the Jordan'. I'm (Mom) trying to save up $ for a trip for him and his wife-to-be to Israel..wish it were more of a concern to him.

Robyn said...

So encouraging to read--not written judgmentally at all, thanks for just sharing in a very humble manner what scripture says!

Heather said...

Thanks Robyn. I can't take credit for all of that. My Bible teacher at our old church and probably a preacher from one church we attended and of course, the Holy Spirit had a big hand in the entire lesson for me. I just felt like it would be a crime not to share it - because it is so powerful! ;)

JamesC said...

Faith and obeisance is also what gets the same little girl into the car of a stranger, and gets her raped and killed. Sorry to be blunt, but this is another example to show how Faith and obeisance are not always a good thing. Question everything. Question the bible, everything everyone says about the bible. Only if you decide to completely disregard common-sense, scientific facts, AND logic, only then does religion (any religion) can exist. You can be compassionate, loving, helpful, etc, without blindly following orders that were given by who knows who. Either way, sorry for the 'hateful' comment, just trying to show you the light.

Rosezilla said...

Having been sexually assaulted at the age of 7 by someone I trusted and thought I must obey, and having chosen to put my faith and trust in my Savior Jesus Christ, I think I can address James' concern. God gives people free will and many use it to harm others. But rather than everyone refusing to follow God, I reach the opposite conclusion. Rather than the little girl, who is now safe for eternity, turning away from God, what if the stranger had been following God? No harm would have been done to her. God will not be mocked and those who use their freedom to sin will be punished. The faith and obedience are unto God, and while faith may not be common, it is certainly sensible. True science points to God every time and logic demands that a Creator be acknowledged. This was an excellent article on baptism, full of scripture.

Devion said...

What a great post. I know that it was written long ago, so I hope you get this comment, but I just had to comment. We need more people that are willing AND able (as you certainly are) to share the truth of God's word. There are so many false prophets out there that teach their own interpretations of scripture that just break my heart. Thank you for being open to God's inspiration to share His message. God Bless and thanks again for stopping by my site!

Jeff said...

I was looking for materials for a children's class on baptism. This was most helpful. God bless.



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