I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." Galations 2:20-21
Thursday, November 13, 2008
While Reading the book of Acts the other day, I realized the people who were believing in Christ were getting baptized right away-immediately. It's like the two went hand in hand. Baptism was their first confession of faith. I want be clear that I am NOT implying salvation by baptism. What I really want to point out is that it seems that salvation and baptism were very closely linked. It's like you wouldn't think of one without the other. I wonder if the "sinners prayer" has now replaced baptism or at least the significance of it.
A lot of times at the end of a sermon a pastor will say something this, "if you have never received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and would like to today, please pray this prayer with me: 'Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen'"(http://www.allaboutgod.com/sinners-prayer.htm). Most likely this person will leave church that day without anyone else knowing they prayed this prayer.
I remember as a child I would pray a prayer similar to this every month or so for a while. I just wanted to "make sure" I was okay with God. Maybe the real question is what does it mean to be saved? But that's a different post for a different day.
Another thing to point out is that the first century Christians immediately starting telling everyone they knew and met about Jesus after being baptized. The gospel was just gushing out of these people. Why have we strayed from this practice? Why do a lot of Christians today wait months or even years to get baptized after being saved (me being one of them)? Thoughts?