Question: Baptism v. Salvation?

I am not married, and I have not been baptised, but I love your blog as it has taught me a lot about Christianity and relationships. Also, you all seem open minded so I would love it if someone might reply to me, even if it’s just private.

I don’t want to get baptized until I know I am ready and pure enough to serve god.

I have pulled some excerpts from an email that we got recently, and I wanted to take the time to talk about baptism.  It’s going to be an interesting topic because different religions have a different take on baptism, especially when you should baptize.  In this article, I am not going to go into that portion of the debate at all, but to the meaning of baptism.

I grew up in a world where it seemed very serene and peaceful in my house.   Not once did I know that my family was poor.  Everyone helped everyone else out in their time of need.  Extended family members all had a talent for something….one relative was good with car repairs, another was good with building and carpentry, another one was an awesome cook….you get the picture.   We all did good deeds for each other.   That’s a good thing, right?

The bible tells us that good deeds are not enough.   We can do many good deeds, but what would Heaven be like if we all bragged on what we did in our life?   “I fed 1,000 homeless people every Sunday”…. Or “I did weekly auto repairs for the widow down the street who couldn’t afford to fix her car”  Or “I preached millions of sermons that brought millions to Christ”….. don’t we do enough of that on Earth right now?  What would be so special about Heaven if we were all like that?

The Bible tells us there is only one way to Heaven…Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.   Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the light.  No man comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6) Jesus also tells us in John 10:7-10 ” Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Do we need to be baptized to go to heaven?  No.  In the Bible, when someone believed in Jesus and was saved, they were baptized to publicly proclaim their belief.   The Bible never claims that baptism is what saves you.

What does baptism mean?    Baptism represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   I believe firmly in baptism by immersion, even though I was sprinkled as a child by my parents.   When you publicly declare your salvation, the immersion indicates the fact that you believe that Christ died and was buried (when you are immersed) and that he conquered the grave and rose again (when you come up from the water).   Salvation is a personal decision that no one can make for you.   Baptism is a choice.

Do you have to get your life in order before you can be saved or baptized?  Heavens, no!.   God loves you just as you are.  If you are feeling the need of a Savior, do it now.  Don’t wait.  We do not know the day and the hour that the Lord is returning, so don’t wait.  Do it now.   God and the Holy Spirit will help you start to get your life in order after you are saved.   Do you have to be baptized right away after you are saved?  No.   I would recommend finding a group of Christian people to fellowship with that will help you to grow and to mature in the ways of the Lord.   Be still and listen to the calling of the Holy Spirit who will guide you through out your life.  I didn’t change much after I asked Jesus to be my Savior.  It took some time, and I went through several church homes before I found one that I felt comfortable in and I started learning.   Get yourself a good Bible.  If you are not familiar with the Bible at all, get a New American Standard (NASB) or a New International Version (NIV) that is easier to read and understand.  I use a Ryrie Study Bible (NASB) because I love all the additional notes that Dr. Charles Ryrie wrote below the text that helps explain things better.   Start with the Gospels.   Any one of them is a wonderful start.  I happen to love details, so Luke is my favorite gospel.  Being a doctor, Luke gives lots of information.  Read the bible, talk to a pastor if you have questions about the bible or about baptism.   It took me about 2 years or so before I really felt comfortable with being baptized again since I had a lot of questions about my original baptism, but it felt really good to publically profess my faith to the friends that I now had in the church.

This article is written from my own perspective and is pretty much what is taught in most Bible and Baptist churches, and other Christians might see it differently.  I hope this answers any questions!

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