"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28: 18-20 (NIV)
How old were you when you accepted Jesus into your heart? It's a simple question with maybe a not so easy answer. For me, it happened several times over years of hearing the Gospel and praying for Him to forgive me. The one thing I never did over those years was to get baptized. For some reason, that always seemed to be embarrassing. That it was something little kids did or maybe even babies, but not grownups. When a baby or person is baptized, it is a sacrament- meaning that there is an oath made by God to the baptized individual. In the case of a baby, they can do nothing for themselves so they are totally reliant upon God's oath, that is God's Grace. For the older child or adult, God's oath, or Grace, is still at work for them, but now the person baptized is of an age to be a 'professing' member of the church universal. They have the ability to tell others of the act of God through the grace of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in them.
I can't recall ever seeing an adult get baptized the whole time I was growing up in the E.U.B. or United Methodist Church. Or anyone going to the altar to accept Jesus, for that matter. What is it that keeps adults from accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior? We make excuses, say maybe the next time I feel that tug at my heart I'll do it. Or we're afraid that people will think we're really bad as a person, doing terrible, sinful things that we're ashamed of. Part of that is true. We are sinful, but that's all of us. Even after we come to Jesus, we should probably ask forgiveness every day for falling short in living a sinless life. We can't do it on our own, no matter how hard we try. The good thing is, Jesus has already forgiven us when we accepted Him and will continue to forgive us whenever we humble ourselves before Him.
Maybe that's it; we don't want to humble ourselves. It's humiliating, that's what humbling actually is. It is lowering ourselves to the acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. And the embarrassment of doing this publically. After all, shouldn't our parents have gotten this thing done for us when we were too little to care? If we have never made a public profession of faith to Jesus Christ, then can we say we are really saved? Baptism is a public profession of that faith. It's telling your friends, your family, your church, and the world that you are burying your sins (by being under the water) and coming up a New Creation (rising up from the water in Christ). You are re-enacting the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in your baptism, in a sense, professing what Jesus has done. And you are claiming, professing, Him as your Lord. You have submitted yourself, humbled yourself, to His Lordship. HOORAY and HALLELUJAH!!
Can you be saved without being baptized? Possibly. It seems that the thief on the cross beside Jesus was. But, here's the thing...why not go ahead and do it? Don't let a little water and standing in front of people hinder you from the full participation and following of Jesus' command to His disciples: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." If we truly want to be fully in, then we need to come humbly before Jesus. In the Methodist tradition, a person can have water poured over them, sprinkled, or be fully immersed for baptism. It's not the mode as much as the motive to be cleansed and profess Jesus. Think and pray about that, and, if you would like to be baptized, talk to me. God bless.