Have You Really been Baptized?
Have you ever been surprised about anything in your life? Surely we both have. Have you ever been surprised about anything spiritual or religious in life? Probably most people have. Quite frankly, sometimes in life we are faced with aspects of Gods will that shock and surprise us!
Some people have been amazed to discover that their church is false as well as teaching false doctrine. Others have been astonished to learn that a trusted pastor or preacher has been involved in adultery or some other compromising activity. Still others have been stunned to discover that a particular doctrine they have always believed is actually not found in the Bible. There will be many surprises on the Day of Judgment. Jesus said that some people will come to the great Day of Judgment, thinking that they are saved and going to heaven, but He will shock them with the statement, I never knew you; depart from Me! (Matthew 7:21-23)
I also have been surprised about a number of spiritual truths in my life. Through my reading of Gods Wordthe BibleIve discovered many things that I did not formerly know. God has shown me that I was mistaken about various important truths, and then I was faced with the question: Will I obey what God has shown me? Baptism is one of those matters! I always assumed that the church in which I was raised taught the truth on baptism. I assumed that I had been baptized earlier in my life. But the time came when I could see in the Word of God that I had not even been baptizedBiblically. I was still unbaptized in Gods sight!
Lets look at the subject of baptism together. In order for you to determine whether you have actually been baptized in the way the Bible teaches, well ask a number of questions, followed by one or more Biblical verses that bear on the subject. Before the question, there is a space for you to answer Yes or No to the given question. This will help you to determine whether you have Scripturally been baptized. God challenges us: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! (2 Corinthians 13:5). Please test yourself with the following questions. Simply answer with a Yes or a No.
_____1. Have you been baptized into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)? (This means that we are to be baptized into the possession or ownership of the Father, Son, and Spirit.) Was this your purpose and desire when you were baptized?
_____2. Did you become a disciple or follower of Jesus Christ when you were baptized? Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them. . . (Matthew 28:19). Or were you too young to become a disciple? Did you fail to consistently live as a disciple of Christ?
_____3. Did you truly believe in Jesus Christ before you were baptized? He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Or, were you first baptized and later grew into faith? (Note: a baby or young child cannot exercise faith in Christ and His death.)
_____4. Were you saved when you believed in the gospel and were baptized? He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Or did you think that you were already saved from sin?
_____5. Did your baptism require much water? John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there (John 3:23). Or did your baptism only require a little water?
_____6. Did you deeply repent of your sins at the time of your baptism? Repent, and each of you be baptized (Acts 2:38). Or did you still love and keep some of your sins? (Repentance means that one changes his mind regarding sin, renounces all of themand forsakes them.)
_____7. Were you forgiven of all your sins when you were baptized? Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38). Or did you think that your sins were already forgiven days, months, or even years earlier?
_____8. Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you were baptized? Repent, and each of you be baptized. . . and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39; cf. Matthew 28:19; Romans 8:9).
_____9. When you were baptized, were you mature enough to understand the good news of Jesus Christs death on the cross for your sins, His resurrection from the dead, and His kingdom? When they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike (Acts 8:12). Or were you too young to believe?
_____10. Were you fully immersed (dipped, submerged, lowered into the water and raised from the water) in baptism? They both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water. . . (Acts 8:38-39). Or did you merely have water sprinkled or poured on your head?
_____11. Were you baptized at the very time you believed? And he [Paul] took them that very hour of the night . . . and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household (Acts 16:31-33; cf. 2:38-41; 18:8).
_____12. Did you wash away your sins and call on the name of Jesus when you were baptized? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name (Acts 22:16; cf. Romans 10:9-10).
_____13. Were you baptized into Jesus and into His death when you were baptized? All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death (Romans 6:3; cf. Galatians 3:27).
_____14. Were you buried with Jesus through baptism into death, as you died to sin and rose to walk a new life? We have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Instead of being buried in baptism, did you merely have a little water sprinkled or poured on your head?
_____15. Were you clothed with Christ when you were baptized? All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27).
_____16. Did God save you when you responded in baptism? Baptism now saves you . . . through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21).
_____17. Were you mature enough to believe in Christ, repent of your sins, and commit your life to God in baptismor were you merely a baby who is incapable of faith and personal choice? Those who had received his word were baptized (Acts 2:41).
_____18. Were you actually buried in baptism through an immersion in water? Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith (Colossians 2:12). In contrast, were you merely sprinkled or poured with a little water?
_____19. Was your baptism a simple expression of faith in a simple setting? (Acts 8:35-39; 16:15, 33) In contrast, did you experience an ecclesiastical ritual, denominational ordinance, or churchly rite in a sanctuary? Did the preacher or priest go through a ritualistic ceremony?
_____20. Did you seek a clear conscience before God when you were baptized? Baptism saves you . . .an appeal to God for a good conscience (1 Peter 3:21). Or were you unconcerned about such a clear conscience over your sins when you had a ceremony with water?
As we conclude this little exercise, how did you do? Were all of your answers Yes? If not, look at the negative answers that you answered with a No. If your baptism failed to pass the test, now is the time for you to ponder what you need to do about this. If your presumed baptism was not like the baptism that is required by God and written about in His Word, your baptism was actually not a Biblical baptism! Apparently, it was merely a church ritual that is assumed to be right. However, God considers these defective baptisms as counterfeit, unbiblical, and invalid!
In the Bible we read that those who refused to repent and be baptized, rejected Gods purpose for themselves (Luke 7:29-30). In another context, when twelve sincere men in Ephesus learned that the baptism they had experienced was not valid, they were willing to be baptized (immersed) againthis time in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:1-6).
Many people have submitted to a religious ceremony or ritual that they thought was baptism and that a pastor or priest said was baptismbut it was very different from the true baptism described in the Bible. What about you? Have you taken this test and have you been surprised to discover that what you thought was baptism was not really valid and true? Now is the time for you to study the Bible for yourself and determine the truth on this very important matter. We offer several pamphlets that may help you in your quest to know the truth of God regarding this vital subject!