Ok, this question may be opening up a can of worms. Cindy, if you delete this post I will not be offended. I don’t know if I might be starting an argument, but this is the only group of people I know to ask.
I am curious about the terms ‘baptised’, ‘saved’, and ‘born again’. I have thought at different times that they all meant the same thing, but the more I hear these terms used I am not sure. Is there a difference, and what is it? or do all of these terms mean the same thing?
I was raised ______ and was baptised, but they didn’t use those terms. They didn’t even really talk about baptism, it was something that parents had done to their infant children and just wasn’t talked about that much. I heard the terms ‘born again’ and ‘saved’ at school occasionally, but never thought anything of them. I always thought it was the same thing. But now I am hearing those terms a lot and I am starting to wonder.
Real quick, I wanted to answer your question. I am not going to load this up with Scripture. If you need more help with this, I am MORE than happy to help you with all of the Scriptural background. Just answering from my heart is LONG, LONG, LONG. But, I am very happy to flesh it out with Scripture too. 🙂
I really try hard to not be offensive to any denominations. So, please know ahead of time that I am only sharing what we believe in order to help. You guys are more than welcome to share what you believe. I truly believe that at minimum, it will get you all digging into what the Bible REALLY says. At maximum, it can be ETERNALLY life-changing. That is my deepest, biggest, number one prayer request! I want to see you all ETERNALLY changed for life. I want to see ALL of you with me in heaven.
That brings me to my answer.
Plain and simple, away from all of the jargon….
Scripture is a beautiful unfolding of God’s amazing plan to bridge the gap between man and Himself. We read about that gap which was created in Genesis 3. It occurred because man and woman chose to sin. Sin separates us from God. There is NO OTHER WAY to bridge that gap than to believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. What does belief in the Name of Jesus Christ mean? He is the ONLY WAY to be saved from eternal death and be born again free from sin. He was the sinless one. The only human after Adam and Eve who lived without sin. Scripture records that He had all of the temptations, tendencies, and the ability to sin. Yet, He chose to look to the mark, the purpose He lived for—that you and I could be reconciled to God from that gulf that separates us.
I love, love, love studying the Bible. The Bible shows us from Genesis to Revelation this beautiful love story of how God has provided for our sin to be paid for. You see our sin takes us into bondage. You have probably felt it. It makes us a slave. In sin, you can try your very best. You can do all that you have power to do. Yet, in sin, you are a slave and cannot change your life. You have no power over sin. Bondage to sin requires that a ransom be paid to for you and me to be set free from the bondage of sin and death. From the foundation of the earth, God planned to ransom us and set us free from the bondage of sin and death.
I love how the story unfolds. In the Old Testament, we see God institute the law. The law had a purpose. It was two-fold. First, to show us that we are sinners and how we fall short from God’s glory. Secondly, to point the way and show us that Jesus WAS the Messiah, the One Who could ransom us from sin and death because HE fulfilled ALL of the requirements of the law and therefore could be our Saviour. Of course, that did not JUST HAPPEN. He had to GIVE HIS LIFE for ours.
There are so many themes that you can study along this line. It is simply beautiful! Simply amazing. I never tire of studying it! Of course, to answer your questions, I am going to stick to the theme of WHAT THIS DOES and WHAT DO YOU DO?
First, of all…in Scripture, we see that blood has to be shed for the remission of sins—to purify sins. In the Old Covenant (Old Testament), blood had to be shed each year for the remission of sins (Hebrews 10). A person had to go to the Tabernacle or Temple with their very best sacrifice and the priest would sacrifice it for their sins. Amazing experience! Hebrews teaches us the significance of this and how Jesus Christ fulfilled the law completely, once for all of us. We have a New Covenant, a better covenant. (Hebrews 10: 11-39)
Christ came and lived a sinless, perfect life. That is not where it stops. He also willingly gave up His life–paid the price to ransom us from sin by dying on the cross and giving His life for us. He shed His blood as our sacrifice. All we have to do be saved or born again is to believe in HIM and accept His sacrifice for our sins. The beautiful thing, when we do, we are covered by His blood, baptized in Him, and we become a new creation! We are born again into His family, with full rights as a child of God. We are free from the chains of sin! Sin loses its power! The curse of sin is broken in our lives! The gap between us and God is bridged! Just by believing, nothing else. No other works!
That brings me to your question about baptism…
There are many, many beliefs about baptism. Many do not even realize that baptism goes back to the Old Covenant, when the priests were commanded to prepare to minister through their “sacrificial bath.” Again, this was every year. This was their preparation to minister before God to His people. Very significant when we look at why we are to be baptized—stick with me.
When John comes on the scene, he creates a stir because he calls people to repentance and to be baptized. This is beautiful!
First, there are two baptisms—one is the baptism in your heart as you believe in Jesus:
Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God. (Col. 2:12)
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Rom. 6:3-5)
The second baptism is our water baptism as an outward confession to the world of our salvation AND as our first step into ministering to the world (our first step of obedience as a Christian). All that water baptism does is symbolize to the world what has gone on inside of us. It is an act of obedience declaring to the world our salvation. It is the first step of obedience in sharing our faith with the world as a minister to the world.
John declares that the baptism by water does not save, it symbolizes our repentance for our sins (that we have turned from our sins and our sinful lives apart from Christ). Baptism by water does not save, rather we can all be saved by believing in Jesus, the Lamb of God. The baptism of water symbolizes the baptism that has taken place in the soul—a spiritual work inside of us. It is an outward confession of an inward change. It is also a preparation for our ministry of reconciliation—we are all called after salvation to be ministers of reconciliation to our world.
I believe that it is important to get this right. First, baptism by water DOES NOT SAVE a person. Only believing in Jesus saves a person. More on this in a bit. If we place our faith in water baptism, we are placing our faith in a “work” that we do. Can you be saved without water baptism? Absolutely! The best example is the thief on the cross. Such a beautiful story. He believed. He could not be baptized by water due to the circumstances in his life, but look at that profession of faith! It was beautiful! The world still KNOWS he gave his life to Jesus! He believed and THAT DAY was with Jesus in heaven. No baptism. If it were any different, I believe that Jesus would have told him, “Too late!” or “Sorry, wish I could help you, but you have to be baptized!” It is ALL ABOUT believing in Jesus. More on that in a bit…
Secondly, I do believe that it is important to be baptized by water soon after salvation. It is a mark in our life. Many people grapple with their salvation. Almost all of the times that I have counseled with people and they are really grappling with their salvation, it is because they did not follow up with baptism. They are not real sure if they were saved. The enemy loves, loves, loves to create doubt and confusion. For this reason, I believe that we need to KNOW how to be saved. Then, as soon as we believe, we need to be baptized and join a local, Bible-believing church (not all churches are Bible believing or Biblical!!! BEWARE!). Every instance in Scripture shows a baptism almost immediately. While it is not essential to salvation, it is very important to begin your new life of obedience. It will declare to the world your relationship with God. It is the first step of obedience after salvation. It is the first thing that God wants for you to do with your life.
You will see many varied teachings about baptism. Take them ALL back to Scripture. Many are very, very dangerous. First, if we ADD to salvation ANYTHING other than to believe in Jesus—believe is a full word meaning that we place our faith in Jesus, repent (turn away) from our sins, and become a new creation—if we add ANYTHING to believing in Jesus, we are adding “works” to salvation. Works come AFTER salvation. They do not GET YOU SAVED. Salvation is a free gift that you accept! You simple accept it by believing in Jesus, accepting what He has done for you to be free from sin.
There are many, many teachings about baptism. You have to watch out for this! Entire denominations have been formed as a result. I am not wanting to offend anyone, but the bottom line is that if you add any works, then you are able to do something yourself to be saved. Likewise, if you are able to do things to be saved, you can also do things to lose that salvation. Actually, this is EXACTLY what many denominations teach. However, this is NOT what the BIBLE teaches.
The Bible teaches us that salvation is a COVENANT. It is sealed by blood. We learn this lesson also all along throughout Scripture. Again, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. He was the second Adam who came and actually lived without sinning. He could shed His blood to pay the ransom for our sins. He went the WHOLE WAY to the cross. He shed His blood to ransom us from sin and death. When we believe in Him, we are covered in the blood, baptized in the blood. We become a new creation. It is ALL DONE for us. We cannot do anything to make it happen EXCEPT believe in Jesus Christ. Look at Acts 16:
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”…He and all his family were baptized…having believed in God with his whole household. (Acts 16:30-34)
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10: 9
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God…. And he baptized him. (Acts 8:36-38 KJV)
Once we believe in Jesus, He covers us by His Blood. His blood seals the covenant. This covenant brings us into relationship as a child of God eternally, giving us all of the privileges and blessings in this life and throughout eternity.
Sweet friend, there are many, many teachings out there about baptism, salvation, our relationship with God. Just like you, I grew up in several different denominations and their teachings gave a different definition to these words. I spent many years in confusion and lacking the security that God provides in relationship with us.
Many people misunderstand Scripture. Many are taught incorrectly with opinions that may be based from a part of a Scripture rather than the full counsel of the Word—for example, many take Acts 16 and teach that if you baptize your babies, they will be saved with you. That is not truth. Acts 16 says that his entire household believed WITH HIM. They all accepted Jesus as their Saviour and we were saved and baptized that night.
What do you do? Get in the Word. Look up every single reference to anything that you are wanting to know. Want to know about baptism? Look up every reference to baptism, baptize, etc. Read the passages around those. Research deeply IN THE WORD. Ask God to show you TRUTH! He will!
I grew up being taught that you could lose your salvation. Boy, this had me on pins and needles. I cannot tell you the number of times that I stayed up crying into the night because I did not want to lose my relationship with God. It did not help that those who believed in eternal security lived lives that were not godly right in front of me. I grappled with those beliefs. I did not have peace until one day I was reading in Hebrews and all of Scripture was pulled together in that passage. I had been saved for 12 years at that time, but I did not live an abundant Christian life until then. Boy, everything changed that morning! I GOT THE WHOLE PICTURE!
In spite of our teaching to our daughter, at 4 years old, she determined that she wanted to be saved. She could answer ALL OF THE QUESTIONS. She had the perfect answers. I had a funny feeling about it, but I did not want to hold her back in her faith. She professed Christ. She believed that He had died for her sins and that He bridged the gap between her and God. She believed that His blood covered her sins. The whole thing! So, we consented for her to be baptized. Later that year, I was teaching Vacation Bible School, a backyard Bible club. She and Matthew were in my group. I told a story about Corrie ten Boom. I don’t remember that story, but as I wrapped up, I asked the children to just close their eyes and to get honest with me for a few minutes. I told them the good news that I have also shared here with you—about our need for salvation to bridge the gap, Christ’s awesome sacrifice, and the decision before us. I told them that there is only ONE WAY to be saved—that was trusting in Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. Not trusting in THEIR own works-going to church, being a good kid, being baptized, on and on. Not trusting in their current relationships—their mom, dad who were saved. I asked them if anyone wanted to be saved. Up, Elisabeth’s hand went! I nodded at her to put her hand down. She would not be satisfied. I thought she misunderstood me. Another little girl also wanted to pray and receive Jesus as her Saviour, so as the other children went to the next thing, I prayed with this little girl and let her go on back to the other children. As she left, I looked up. Elisabeth was standing behind me in tears. I asked her what was wrong. She just burst out in tears that she had believed that she could be baptized and be saved…that she had missed it and it had not helped her to be free from sin…she wanted to REALLY be saved. That day, she was REALLY saved!
Sweet friend, again in not wanting to offend anyone else or seem to contridict anyone’s teaching, I want to point you to TRUTH! That truth will set you free. You can take everything that I have shared here back to the Bible. It will match up ALL THROUGHOUT the Bible. Do the same with everything that you hear or read. If it misses ONE POINT, it is error. That is one tactic from the enemy—he takes truth and gives it just one twist, but that twist always brings contradictions and ramifications. Truth does not have any contradictions. The Bible is absolute truth. It is our standard for all truth. If something contradicts the Bible in any way, it is error. The ramifications of error are big! Like those years of torment for me as a little girl and teen. Like that year when Elisabeth was looking for salvation and finding that Baptism by water was not the way.
Take everything back to the Bible. You have a beautiful story of how much God cares about your salvation awaiting you there!
BTW…no question is too tough. If we don’t have answers, we will seek God for answers to those questions. Of course, if we DO know the answer, it is no problem! I am here to teach. There could be no greater topic than to teach about what the Bible says about our eternity!
If you have any other questions, just ask!
Love ya tons!
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