To believe and to be baptized are the cornerstones of the Christian faith. Today I’ll discuss what those words really mean and explain why so many are confused today about where they really stand with God. Join us on our Blogging Through the Alphabet journey and check out the other A posts linked at the bottom of this page! Don’t forget to check out my co-hosts, Amanda at Hopkins Homeschool and Kirsten at DoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life. Grab this button and join us!
Just believe in Jesus and you will be saved! We hear it and probably even most of us have said it – but is it true? Is that all that is required to “be a Christian” is to “believe in Jesus?” What does that even mean? Jesus is historically and scientifically proven to have existed; about this there is no argument. And so we clarify that you must believe that Jesus, the man, was the Son of God – fully man and fully God – and that He came to earth to pay the price for the sin of all mankind. That is, He died in our place to pay the price so that we might spend eternity with God. That’s what I have to believe. Right?
Well… yes. It’s great to believe that. It’s absolutely the first step. But, you know what? It’s not enough. How do I know? This scripture right here, from James 2:19 (emphasis mine)-
You believe that God is one; you do well [to believe that].
The demons also believe [that],
and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]!
Do you see it? Do you get it? The demons know and understand who Jesus is. They understood it when he was here on the earth; if you’ll remember, there was at least one demon who shrieked when it saw Jesus, crying that their time wasn’t yet finished. It’s not enough to believe. You must choose Him. It’s about the state of the heart, about obedience, about a willingness to conform your own will to the will of God for you. Do you see the difference?
There is much to discuss when it comes to baptism, but for the purposes of this discussion we’ll stick to the water baptism performed by John on many, including on Jesus Himself. See Matthew chapter 3 for this story. John the Baptist stated that the reason for being baptized with water was to demonstrate repentance – a willingness to change your inner self, your old way of thinking, and regret your sin and are willing to live a changed life. (See the Amplified translation.)
It’s a way to put an action to your faith, as required by the James 2 passage from above. It’s also stated in the just previous verses from the passage in Matthew, where John calls out the Pharisees and Saducees because they should be having “fruit consistent with repentance.” So then, the entire point of the water baptism is to put action to faith and to demonstrate a willingness to “die to self” and allow Christ to change you from the inside out. It’s a willingness to put old things aside and follow the will of God, even when (especially when!) it goes against who you’ve always been.
This is how we are saved. It’s a heart situation – believe in Christ so strongly that you are willing to let Him change you, and demonstrate that willingness through baptism. Here I will say this – I personally do not believe that if you aren’t baptized in water that you aren’t saved. I think it’s an important thing to do, but it’s a demonstration of your willingness to change and I believe that can take other forms. If people can see the change in your life, your actions, your mindsets – then you are, in reality, saved.
Was any of this news to you? Let’s discuss it in the comments!
Don’t forget to send me your questions and ideas for future posts with this super quick form!
If you’d like to join us, please feel free to link up each week! The hosts will be posting on Thursdays and the linky will stay open through the entire week. You can pick a theme like I have, or you can just come up with a post each week for whatever the Lord puts on your heart and mind. We do have a few rules that go along with this series if you want to link up with us.