Question:

I recently turned my life to God. I'm on your web site all the time learning what things to do and not do. I'm also reading the Bible. I don't know everything in the Bible, so I'm currently educating myself. I've come to be a bit confused since I have a hard time understanding many things. I believe I am saved. I'm working on myself trying to stop certain sins and trying to be righteous. I plan on being baptized with a church, but I don't know when they'll have the ceremony. I have to wait until they get a lot of people to do it. Since I believe I am saved, I fear I can go to hell because I'm not baptized. The whole scripture on salvation, being saved and being baptized is understandable to a certain point. I have read articles on each of the topics, but i don't understand 100% and was hoping you can explain it to me part by part so I can understand fully.

Like, since I believe I am saved, but still struggling with cursing and such (it's really hard to not use euphemisms but I'm trying), if I died right now will it be too late? Even though I am transitioning? Will God say "you weren't baptized to receive the kingdom of heaven?" I want to be baptized as soon as possible. I guess with the fear that something could happen to me, and just me not wanting to delay God's plan and blessings for me. I'm working on fear as well. This whole thing is a lifestyle change. Somethings I was able to stop straight up and others I'm really trying to stop but having difficulty, because I feel I can just stop suddenly. It takes time, such as with using euphemism. Can you explain this to me in the simplest way possible?


Answer:

I was in the same situation as you three years ago. Like you, I decided to turn my life over to the Lord and began reading the Bible. You state that you believe that you are saved, but the Bible states that we must first believe the Gospel, that Jesus is the Son of God, repent from our sins and to be baptized for the remission of our sins:

"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

"Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:47).

Repent means to turn away from your sins. You will be tempted by those same sins and new ones in the future, but you can resist them: "No temptation has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). Remission means forgiveness. For a more detailed explanation on salvation, please read this article: What Must I Do to be Saved?

Now, what does baptism represent? It represents Jesus' death, burial and resurrection: "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin"(Romans 6:3-6). What Paul is essentially saying here is that when we enter the water, it represents Christ's death, being under the water represents Christ's burial and coming up out of the water represents Christ's resurrection. After we are baptized God forgets all of our old sins that our old self committed.

There is not a waiting list for baptism in Jesus' church. Philip didn't tell the eunuch to come back next week to get baptized when the eunuch saw a body of water: "Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:38). Any Christian can baptize you, be it in a church building or a river, with two or more witnesses. Some denominations like to make a spectacle of baptism by having many people being baptized at once to show their particular denomination is growing, when in reality they are being a stumbling block. I suggest you to do what I did three years ago and seek a church or a Christian who is willing to baptize you as soon as possible. Like you, I feared dying before I could be baptized. since the Bible doesn't state what happens to people who are in a "transition" stage.

"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord"(Acts 22:16).

Jamie Johnson