It seems many professing Christians spend their time focusing on the wrong questions. Many are seeking answers on why they don’t have to be baptized or attend church services. Instead of trying to reason with themselves, or with others, I think a good question to ask, or better yet answer, “Why should I be baptized”?
First, it is important to understand that professing Christians are not always the same as born again Christians. All born again Christians profess Christianity but not all professing Christians have truly been born again. With that being understood, answering the correct questions honestly, may help a true born again Christian understand the importance of being baptized and serving in their local church. Honestly answering the same questions may also help a baptized professing Christian realize they may not be what they are professing.
1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
I find the answer to this question in 1st Peter. The world will teach us to ask why we don’t have to be obedient, but scripture gives us reasons why we should. Christ commanded the Apostles to preach His gospel and baptize in His name (Mat 28:19-20). They preached His gospel to Jews and Gentiles and those that received the message and believed on Christ, were baptized in His name. Today, many preachers have distorted the biblical view of baptism. Many have accepted the false doctrine infant and child baptism (Another discussion) while others may teach baptism isn’t a necessity.
While the apostle Philip was preaching the Word to the Eunuch (Acts 8), we find that when they come upon water, the Eunuch had a desire to be baptized. Scripture gives us no indication there was anyone else around to witness the baptism. This poses another question, why didn’t the Eunuch wait until he got home to be baptized? It could have been that there may not have been anyone in Ethiopia to baptize him, but I believe scripture reveals why he didn’t wait (We will discuss in a moment). This also raises another option for the Eunuch. He could have not been baptized, but went home and told everyone he had been baptized. After all, no one would have known any different. If being baptized wasn’t important, why was the Eunuch so enthusiastic about getting baptized right then, with presumably no witnesses? The answer is our text; it is the answer to a good conscience toward God, not man. It is not man that commands believers to be baptized. In many cases, man dilutes the importance of baptism by not preaching it strong enough or have polluted its meaning by baptizing those that shouldn’t be baptized.
If someone is being baptized to please parents, family members friends or to be accepted into a church, it is being done for the wrong reasons. The true reason for born again Christian to be baptized is to answer to a good conscience towards God. Those that truly believe, accept Christ as their personal Savior, have been forgiven of their sins and have been born of the Spirit should obey Christ and be baptized. After all, unless a person realizes that they have sinned against God and they have no chance to redeem themselves, they won’t repent, deny themselves and surrender their Life to Christ (Which includes promising Him you will be obedient), then chances are they don’t need to be baptized; they need to be saved.
Luke 11:33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.
When Christians focus on the wrong question of why they don’t have to be baptized, it’s comparable to a married man saying “I don’t have to be faithful (To my wife).” Though the statement is true (A man doesn’t have to be faithful, and many are not), it doesn’t mean it’s correct. In fact, a man doesn’t have to even come home every night. He has the freedom to stay out all night, but he has the responsibility to come home and be faithful. If he doesn’t have the desire and love for his wife to fulfill these minor obligations, that’s a very good indication that he might be married, but he is far from a husband. A man may be able to conceal an affair from his wife, but no one can hide their true feeling from God. The Lord knows the hearts of men (Acts 1:24). He knows their secrets (Luke 8:17).
Now we can answer the question why the Eunuch didn’t wait to be baptized. He was answering to a good conscience towards God. When Christians are obedient to Christ, the same thing happens to them that happened to the Eunuch. According to what I find in scripture (and by experience), no born again Christian can ever be happy or satisfied while being disobedient to the Lord. Not being baptized is being disobedient. For those that do obey, they will find great joy in serving Christ.
Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.