I am a member of the church but have become paranoid recently about an issue relating to baptism.†I read something recently by a member of the church who wrote that if you were not ďthinkingĒ about remission of sins specifically when you were baptized, then your baptism was basically no good.
My story is that I initially was baptized when I was young and a member of the Baptist church.††Almost two decades ago I married a wonderful woman who was a member of the church.†I fought her over religion for years, but in the end we both began attending a church of Christ.† Just before our first son was born, my doubt over my baptism was really bothering me.†I was studying with some men at church about baptism.†I remember driving to and from work thinking that if I had a wreck that I could possibly go to hell.†It just wouldnít get off my mind.† So, I asked a member of the church that I trusted to meet me at the church to study one Sunday afternoon.†I told him my convictions, told him that I had studied all the examples of baptism in the Bible and that I was convinced that baptism was essential for salvation.†He read Acts 2:37-38 with me and I told him I wanted to be baptized.†I was baptized that very day and made my confession of faith as well.†I remember that afternoon thinking that if God were to return that I would go to heaven and had no more worries.
Fast forward to today. Iíve been faithful since that day.†Of course I make mistakes, but I always ask for forgiveness and try my best.†Iíve learned so much since then about remission of sins and about Godís forgiveness.†However, as I try to think back on my baptism after reading the article I referred to above, it makes me paranoid because I donít remember if I was thinking about remission of sins.†I remember understanding that baptism was necessary for salvation and that it was not just something you did after the fact as many Baptists believe as a symbolic gesture.†I remember thinking that I had a clean slate after I was baptized as well.† I have been a different person since my baptism.†
I may just be over thinking this one, which I often do, regretfully.†Itís just that I donít want to have any doubts on this type of matter.†Is baptism for salvation the same thing as being baptized for remission of sins?† Or do you think one must be thinking about remission of sins during baptism?
I would appreciate your feedback.
The Bible doesn't specify what a person must be thinking while being baptized. It states what a person must understand about what they are doing.
You clearly state that you knew your second baptism was for the purpose of salvation. Think for just a moment and then tell me what salvation means. What is it that you are being saved from? As Isaiah noted to God, "You are indeed angry, for we have sinned -- in these ways we continue; and we need to be saved" (Isaiah 64:5). Remission of sin is just another angle looking at the same problem. Our sins have incurred a debt which we cannot pay (Romans 6:23). It was Jesus' death which paid the debt (Matthew 26:28), and it is through baptism that we come in contact with Jesus' death and payment on our behalf (Romans 6:3-7). You understood this and continue to understand this. You've done what God asked of you.
Now, I have a question for you: Do you love your wife? I know strange question, but think about it for a moment. Do you love her the way you loved her just before you married, or has it changed, deepened, and became better as you grew to better understand what love really is? If you are like most people the latter is true. I remember thinking about a year after being married, "Wow, I thought I was in love before, but I really didn't understand it." Each year it has been the same. Yet, at the same time, it doesn't mean I didn't love my wife when I got married. I just have a greater appreciation now than then.
This is true of most topics. You understood about salvation and being forgiven when you were baptized, but as you grew you gained a greater and deeper appreciation for what Christ did on your behalf. It doesn't mean you had none before. And Christ never asked people to become fully mature in their knowledge before becoming a Christian. If that were so, no one would be baptized. "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen" (II Peter 3:18).
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I really appreciate you taking the time to write me back. Your comparison of my love for my wife to my deeper love and understanding of God is a great analogy. This helps me.
By the way, the web site for the La Vista church is great.
Thank you for the encouragement.