Tonight we'll baptize two new believers at the local pool — a husband and wife. They gave their lives to the Lord two weeks ago.
To my surprise, Nick pushed back. So I took a step back and gave them time. Two days later Nick was on a mercy dash after hearing that his mother was hospitalised with a life threatening illness.
He got the first flight out to see her and spent every moment praying that God would spare her life.
She pulled through. Nick returned a different man.
Two weeks later Nick and Cany put their trust in Jesus as their Saviour, and confessed him as their Lord.
When Michelle and I shared with them we included the call to baptism as part of the gospel message (Acts 2:38).
With some help from Robert Stein, here's why.
In the New Testament, conversion has five aspects, all of which took place at the same time, usually on the same day.
The five components of conversion:
• the giving of the Holy Spirit
The examples below show how all five components are inseparable.
Even if one of the five is not mentioned, it is assumed. For example, in Acts 2:38 Peter does not mention the need for faith. Yet we must assume is was required for conversion.
When the early church proclaimed the gospel they spoke about sin and the need for repentance. They called people to put their faith in Jesus Christ and confess him as Lord that they might be born of the Spirit. Finally, they urged them to be baptized.
In the New Testament a person was not baptized for one of two reasons. Either they did not want to repent and put their faith in Christ, or they did repent and believe but, like the thief on the cross, were physically unable to be baptized (Luke 23:39-43).
They understood that baptism did not guarantee salvation (1 Corinthians 10:1-5) but conversion always involved baptism. People repented and were baptized. They believed and were baptized. The apostles and the disciples always linked baptism to the other elements of conversion.
To reject baptism was to reject the gospel message preached by Peter, Paul, and the early church.
Believing without baptism was not an option.
Pretty soon the doorbell with ring. We'll sit down with Nick and Cany and hear them tell their stories. We'll drive to the pool, and baptize them just as Jesus commanded.
Tomorrow night I'll meet with them and go through the third of the Seven Commands of Christ. It sure beats watching TV.