Question: Can I bounce something off of you? In recent days, someone here has become increasingly aware of an unsettled conscience about his baptism in the past. He was baptized at age 15, largely with motives to please his mother at the time, rather than in obedience to revelation of Jesus. He’s not felt clear in his conscience that he has obeyed Jesus in regards to baptism the way Jesus meant, in spite of the fact that he’s done the “ceremony”. Anyway, he has felt like Jesus is asking him to be baptized again, now with a proper motivation and greater understanding.
Thanks. Love to you and all with you,
Hi…. The booklet “A Fresh Look at Water Baptism” may help to illuminate the subject for him, one way or the other. We have heard hundreds of times that it has had that effect.
ALSO, I think Father has taught us that such a decision (“re”—”baptism” of a person that is now hungering for Jesus) needs to be weighed in view of the three possibilities:
1) It was John’s baptism (or Pastor Joe’s baptism, or Mom’s baptism, or little Billy’s competitive baptism, or my emotional or zealous baptism)—and in such a case it was NOT a baptism at all, as Paul would indicate to the men in Ephesus. If a person has not seen that he or she has crucified Jesus (“this Jesus whom YOU have crucified”)—then there is no real sense of the death sentence (“and they were cut to the heart and said, ‘Men and brothers, what must we DO?!’”), and the legitimate under-girding of the Baptism of the New Agreement isn’t there yet. This is true for children, or in some cases adults who are trying (consciously or unconsciously) to escape something or earn something or please someone. It would not be Biblical New Covenant baptism in such a case, and it would be a precious Gift to Jesus to be truly Buried with Him, actually for the FIRST time. I was sprinkled as a baby, and, since my heart was not in it, and for other reasons, it had no value whatsoever as it relates to Biblical baptism in the New Agreement era.
So, as in Ephesus, when I came to understand JESUS’ Teaching and those of His Ambassadors, it was clear that my “cut to the heart” need for Him would be surely crowned well with what we see happening in every single instance of true conversion in the Bible—“here is water—what are you waiting for?!” : ) Cornelius, in Acts 10 (that one), was a super individual. He worshipped the one True God. He was sacrificial and prayed,—HE EVEN HAD AN ANGELIC VISITATION—AND THEN SPOKE IN TONGUES!—and still needed to respond to the message of Jesus and be immersed in water. SO, it didn’t “earn” him anything, but GOD still thought, in spite of Corny’s goodness, his worship, his prayer, his experiences with angels and tongues—GOD Still thought baptism in water was a good idea, once he understood the Cross and the Resurrection, and saw the gap CLEARLY between his heart and God’s.
SOME do need to be Baptized (I won’t say RE-Baptized, since they never really were if it was John’s or someone else’s baptism.).
2) It is ALSO possible to have been legitimately baptized in Father’s eyes, and have garbage in your life at a later point. By way of example, Peter said to Simon the sorcerer shortly AFTER Phillip had immersed him in Samaria, “Has satan so filled your heart?!” An apostle of the Lamb sees satanic influence on a convert to Jesus (the Scriptures say that Simon did “believe” along with the others in Samaria)—and DOES NOT SUGGEST THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HIS BAPTISM. Simon needed to REPENT, not question the Good News that he had believed, or the substance of his baptism. The man in Corinth needed to REPENT of the evil and foolish callousness that had overshadowed his life and conscience, but Paul did not question the man’s baptism, though the subject of baptism DID come up in the letter three or four times. Paul did not trace back the man’s foolish sin with his step-mother, or any of the other foolish sins he addresses to the Corinth believers, to their original lack of commitment to the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus and need for a new heart. He KNEW they had responded to JESUS initially, and were just in need of some serious correction. And he knew their hearts (and the “deposit” of the Holy Spirit and His conviction, 1Thes.1, as proof of the Transaction) well enough to know that they WOULD respond to the Word of God when he wrote the letter (2Cor.7).
SO, some may be a MESS, and still NOT need to be RE-baptized.
3) SOMETIMES, much as a couple who has been married for 50 years or some such thing may want to “go up the aisle” and “reconfirm their vows”—SOMETIMES it is perfectly OKAY for a person who JUST WANTS TO TELL JESUS THAT THEY LOVE HIM, and RECONFIRM THE VOWS OF LOVE THAT THEY MADE TO HIM…
SOMETIMES it’s perfectly okay for a person to say, “I love You” by being baptized again. It has no “official” value as it did for the Ethiopian or Cornelius or the 3000 (boy THAT must have been a lot of work that day! Would they have done that if it were “meaningless”? No way!), or the Jailer at midnight. And certainly “baptism” is not “magic water” for anyone anytime anyway! It is not a “sacrament” with some mystical power. But Value to God? Unmistakable, if one TRULY allows the Scriptures (both Teachings of Jesus, Paul and Peter—as well as the clear indication by their ACTIONS recorded by Luke and the Holy Spirit) to be the final say.
But, finally, Baptism CAN be just a statement of love, restating the Vows of Marriage to Jesus. If it is not some way to “remove guilt” (a useless and ungrateful “dead work,” in other words)—but TRULY a rosy-faced joyous celebration and remembrance and Higher-level clarification to our own hearts and minds, and those around us, a GIFT to Jesus and His Father to restate the EXISTING Covenant…so be it! Fun stuff, if it’s right.
So there you have it…three possible scenarios of those that have Believed in Jesus for some time perhaps, and have already been immersed in water, but the question arises, “SHOULD I BE BAPTIZED AGAIN??!!” Hope that is helpful.
In His Liberty,