As most of you know, I was raised in a Roman Catholic home by very loving, committed parents. They tried to raise me to obey God, go to church, and be a good citizen that loved other people.
Their efforts and prayers started before I was even born, I’m sure. Certainly from a very early age, they wanted me to be raised in ‘The Church’, and to actively embrace the faith.
One way they showed this was to have me baptized as an infant.
I don’t remember anything about it, of course.
Yet, they did it–and they prayed that it would be one step in my relationship with God and the Roman Catholic Church.
Around High School, I started to really question God, and especially the Church. I started to discount God and His very existence. I rejected Him, for all practical purposes, and went away from Him.
Then, at about the age of 19, He reached down and showed me my sin, my need for forgiveness, mercy and grace, and that Jesus came to provide it all, through faith. (We had almost always prayed to ‘God’, and talked about ‘God’. We knew the story of Jesus, but rarely talked about Him and virtually never prayed to Him.)
Someone showed me Ephesians 2, and a light went on! Especially vv. 8-9, where Paul wrote, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Finally, I got it!
My only hope was not ‘religion’, but the Grace of God, as shown in Jesus! Suddenly, I was introduced to a ‘relationship’ with God, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit working within me!
I now knew that going to church, doing good works, and jumping through religious ‘hoops’ cannot ‘Save’ a person…it is by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone! I also now knew that I could be confident about being ‘saved’…not because I was ‘better’ than anyone, just because He had saved me!
Soon after coming to understand this, I was approached about getting baptized. I did not want to. I was afraid that I would fall back into ‘religion’ if I did, and that I was doing it because I was being told that I had to.
I didn’t like that, so I said ‘no’…for 8 years!
Then, one day I was listening to a Missionary tell his story. It was very compelling and motivational, and he invited people forward, IF they were willing to ‘go wherever God leads, and do whatever He wants’. I was, so I went forward.
Later that afternoon, I sensed the Lord asking me ‘Wait…you’re willing to go wherever I want and do whatever I want you to do, but you’re not willing to get Baptized?’
It made no sense!
After all, baptism was commanded by the Lord Jesus Himself! In His last conversation with His disciples, Jesus said “…go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
I knew then what I had to do. The very next opportunity, I had to get baptized. I invited my parents and some of my family. They came and respectfully watched, but some did not understand.
I knew that it meant Surrendering to Jesus as my Lord–the One who would have control over my life.
…and it started with willingly being Re-baptized–not because my church told me I had to, but because my love of God and the Holy Spirit within made me want to.
In some ways, it was the fulfillment of what my parents had started. I was (finally) now reaching out and taking the ‘faith baton’ from them and running with it!
It was symbolic of the New Life that God had given me, in Jesus Christ.
So…how about you?
Were you baptized before, but now finally understand the grace and mercy of God? Is there any reason you should not get Re-baptized, to affirm this in your own life?
If you’re at all like me, you’ll be glad you did!