Baptism water will change your life forever

  • Follow Your Faith

Don't tell anybody, but I was raised Southern Baptist. As a teen, I declared my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and I was baptized at the First Baptist Church of Newington, Ga.

Cochran  Special
Special
Cochran

If you belong to a Christian tradition that embraces baptism -- the dunking of adults -- then you remember the moment that you were baptized. It is one of life's threshold experiences. You remember it the way you remember the first day of first grade, or standing before God with the person you love and saying "I do."

You never forget what it's like to stand there in the cold water with your minister, or that moment when he or she plunges you deeply into the water.

I certainly remember it. A young, thin Baptist minister baptized me and my mother on the same Wednesday evening, right before choir practice. Although my mother had attended church all of her life and had loved God for as long as she could remember, she had been raised Methodist.

She had been sprinkled, but not dunked, and so she decided to have herself immersed at the same time that I was.

That young minister weighed about 90 pounds sopping wet. I was a corn-fed farm boy -- a big, strapping kid -- and we all wondered whether he'd be able to pull me back up once he got me under the water. Things worked out OK, though. My head went completely under the water, and he pulled me out blinking at the bright light, emerging into a new world.

When you are brought up dripping wet from the water that way, you have become something new.

The light of Christ transfigures you. You confess to the world -- shivering there in the baptismal pool -- that you have been radically, suddenly changed into something different. You have accepted Christ, who cleanses you from a well that will never run dry. You have become something new.

You enter into a relationship from which there is no escape. God enters your heart, and on some level from that point forward you know him. And nobody will ever take that away, no matter how hard they try.

THE REV. CHARLES COCHRAN IS THE PASTOR OF FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST) IN DOWNTOWN AUGUSTA.

Comments (14) Add comment
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avesposito
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avesposito 07/18/09 - 11:27 am
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"When you are brought up

"When you are brought up dripping wet from the water that way, you have become something new." What's the evidence for this extraordinary claim?

kai@reasontostand.org
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kai@reasontostand.org 07/18/09 - 02:34 pm
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avesposito, I would wager

avesposito, I would wager none but subjective experience. Something not worth basing your faith on/in.

avesposito
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avesposito 07/18/09 - 03:53 pm
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I wish they would start

I wish they would start requiring footnotes for the outrageous claims made in the weekly guest columnist articles.

Rebelbuyer
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Rebelbuyer 07/19/09 - 07:42 pm
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Brother, surely you did not
Unpublished

Brother, surely you did not mean to convey that there was something intrinsic in the water which fomented this change in your nature. Baptism is merely the physical, public testimony of the conversion which should've already taken place in the heart. Baptism is the outward profession of the changed life and declaration to follow Christ. There is nothing magical in the water. Naaman the leper learned this lesson, remember? The process you describe is very catholic in nature. Sadly, many go down dry sinners and simply reemerge as wet ones devoid of any change.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/19/09 - 07:53 pm
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Rebelbuyer, I have to totally

Rebelbuyer, I have to totally agree with Mr. Cochran on this one. I've carefully studied the NT teaching of baptism, and I am fully convinced that baptism is the very moment in which the blood of Jesus is applied to the heart and forgiveness takes place. Acts 2:38 tells us very plainly that we are baptized for forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as the "sinner's prayer" or "asking Jesus into your heart" in the Bible whatsoever. I've looked. They are not there. Baptism for forgiveness is. Here's a key to remember: neither the Thief on the Cross nor Naaman the Leper have anything to do with Christian baptism. Both met Jesus BEFORE the church age or Christian baptism was ever instituted. Apples and oranges there. A post-resurrection conversion: Saul of Taursus. He met, believed, and confessed Jesus on the road to Damascus. He then repented in darkness for 3 days. As Paul himself tells us, it was not until 3 days later at his BAPTISM that his sins were actually washed away. You cannot be "believed" into Christ, "prayed" into Christ, or "confessed" into Christ -- Scripture says you can only be BAPTIZED into Christ. It's not Catholic -- it's pure NT.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/19/09 - 08:04 pm
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Certainly not saying that

Certainly not saying that there is anything "magic" in the water. It's an act of obedience. We are saved through faith, for sure, and not by any works that we do. Baptism is not our work, but is a work that God does for us as we obey and submit to Christian baptism. I don't understand how it works, but I obey and believe it because that's what the NT teaches. Remember also that 1 Peter tells us that it is "baptism that saves us".

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/19/09 - 08:12 pm
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If you read church history,

If you read church history, you'll see that the "traditional" view is that baptism is just as important as faith, confession, repentence in the salvation process. Martin Luther even said that baptism was the moment when salvation was effected. Early church leaders wrote the same thing too. The concept that baptism is just a "sign" of a prior conversion was not popular until theologian Huldriech Zwingli decided that baptism was not necessary, and started to teach that incorrect idea. So, truth is, it is Zwingli's revisionist theology that is the new idea. The traditional concept was always that baptism is definitely an essential part of salvation.

Rebelbuyer
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Rebelbuyer 07/20/09 - 03:46 am
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Howcanweknow, your comments
Unpublished

Howcanweknow, your comments seem to go back and forth on what you really mean. There is no power in the water to change a sinner into a saint. Baptism is only the outward, public expression of what has already taken place in the heart and mind via the Holy Spirit which drew you unto the Savior. If the power of conversion rested in the water then All who went under would thus be changed. As you said, the thief on the cross was converted without the benefit of water baptism. When the rich young ruler asked of Christ, "What must I do to be saved?" Christ did not answer , "Be baptized." No, he said "Keep my commandments." Salvation is unto obedience not communion, or baptism. Was Christ's ministry only good after He was baptized or the work of John the Baptist after his baptism? My goodness this is so elementary that it shocks me to think that Christians have any alternative view. There will be testimonies of many who will be in heaven who never had the benefit of water baptism. I would assume like the papists, you believe that unbaptized babies and children of godly parents who die will never enter the kingdom. Jesus, NT "If you love me, keep my commandments."

Rebelbuyer
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Rebelbuyer 07/20/09 - 09:45 am
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Peter used the experience of
Unpublished

Peter used the experience of Noah during the Flood to illustrate the relationship between baptism and salvation. Only eight people believed, entered the ark and were "saved through water." "There is also an antitype which now saves us," Peter said, "namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God),via the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1Peter 3:20, 21). Peter explained that we are saved by baptism as Noah and his family were saved through water. Of course God, not the flood waters, saved Noah. By anology, it is the blood of Christ, not the water of baptism, that removes sin from the believer. "But baptism, like Noah's obedience in entering the ark, is "the answer of a good conscience toward God." When man by God's power gives "the answer," salvation provided by the resurrection of Jesus Christ becomes effective." Believe and be baptized! Repent and be baptized! Belief, Repentance, and Faith precede baptism. Yes, baptism is required because our Lord said and did so. Jesus revealed to the lame man by the pool in Bethesda that it was Repentance, Belief and Faith which healed, not the troubling of the water.

sunnyday
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sunnyday 07/20/09 - 10:10 am
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Here is a perfect example of

Here is a perfect example of the reason why so many denominations exist. One opinion/belief for every person out there.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/20/09 - 03:29 pm
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RB, I appreciate your

RB, I appreciate your comments and your time. I too believe that faith, repentence and confession are required before baptism -- without these baptism is just getting wet. But, I also believe, from scripture, that baptism is just as essential to the salvation process. The examples you keep bringing up are from the life of Christ. This was before the church age -- still under Old Covenant. The New Covenant / New Testament / Church Age started on the Day of Pentecost, not before. You can't use OC examples to learn about NT conversions. The one I brought up, Saul / Paul, is a clear NT conversion, and Paul clearly tells us that he was not forgiven for his sin until the point of baptism. It's right there in Acts. Faith, confession, and repentance was not sufficient to remove Saul's sin -- it took immersion to complete the process. Without faith, baptism is just getting wet. But, when you couple baptism with faith, repentance, and confession, the baptism is the key that completes the process. That is the NT plan of salvation, and is the practice of the early church. Acts 2:38 plainly says that it is baptism that effects remission of sin -- not just believing or praying some prayer.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/20/09 - 03:34 pm
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Let me try and clarify. I do

Let me try and clarify. I do not believe that there is anything magical in the water in and of itself. The water does nothing. I, myself, do nothing. Baptism is an act of obedience on my part to Jesus' clear command. When I submit to baptism,, as commanded, and do so in faith, it is God who "works the magic" (for lack of a better term) to forgive my sin. It is not a work that I do, but something that God does for me via my obedience & faith in Him. This was the traditional position of the 1st century church. The writings of Origen and others make this pretty clear. Even Martin Luther confirmed that it was at the moment of baptism that forgiveness of sin was completely accomplished. It was not until over 1000 years later that baptism was stripped of its traditional and correct role as an essential element in the plan of salvation.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/20/09 - 03:45 pm
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Notice also that there are a

Notice also that there are a couple of NT passages that clearly state that we are "baptized" into Christ. Nowhere in the NT do we find a single verse that says we are ever "believed into Christ", "prayed into Christ", or "confessed into Christ". We are also told that we are "clothed with Christ" in baptism, specifically. Again, please understand I'm not at all saying that faith, confession, and repentance are not essential. They certainly are. But, I think the scripture plainly teaches us that baptism is just as important as the rest. It's the coupling together of all these things that completes the salvation process. I don't see how you can remove baptism from this list, because it bears a very special designation, and scripture attributes very special results specifically to the act of baptism (e.g., forgiveness, receiving gift of Holy Spirit, getting "into" Christ, being "clothed" with Christ). Only baptism is given this important role amongst these important things. It has to be just as important to salvation as faith, confession, and repentance.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/20/09 - 04:10 pm
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Sunnyday, Yes, it is a shame

Sunnyday, Yes, it is a shame that denominations exist. Surely Jesus did not mean for this to be. But, please note that there are far more similarities between what RB and I believe than differences. We both believe that Jesus is the Son of God (God incarnate actually), and is the only Way of salvation. We also believe that you come to Jesus by faith and obedience. We believe in the same Bible and the same God. We also believe that baptism is required of all Christians. So, you see, the similarities far outweigh this one point. In terms of opinions, please know that only ONE opinion counts, and that is what the Bible says. Once you have that down, case closed. If you examine church history, you'll see that often times denominations arose because people got away from God's Word and decided to do things their own way instead. People make denominations, not God. Don't judge Christianity by imperfect people; examine its truths in light of Jesus Christ alone.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/20/09 - 04:19 pm
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One last clarification, Reb.

One last clarification, Reb. No, I do not believe like any papists. I believe that there will be many in heaven who did not receive Christian baptism. pre-Christian OT saints, for example. In terms of infants, I DO NOT believe infant sprinking does anything other than make a kid cry. As I said, water without prior faith is nothing. For sure, it's not my call who is in heaven or not. That's up to God, not me. But, I do know that my responsibility is to OBEY God's clear commands. When I see that His word is pretty clear that baptism is a part of His designated plan of salvation, then I'd better obey that plan to the letter. I believe the only way we can have the absolute 100% assurance of salvation is if we follow God's plan for NT Church salvation to the letter (including baptism). That's my responsibility. If there are any gray areas (e.g., death bed confessions), God will handle them in His wisdom. There are far more clear black and white things for me to concern myself with. When the NT (and not pre-Christian, pre-Church Age examples) teaches that baptism is an essential part of God's plan, I don't debate it. I do it.

Rebelbuyer
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Rebelbuyer 07/21/09 - 07:06 am
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howcanweknow..we are not at
Unpublished

howcanweknow..we are not at odds brother. Your last statement puts us 100% insync. Baptism is essential because it is a type of death and ressurection. We enter into that experience as Jesus did. As the candidate goes beneath the watery grave then emerges in newness of life, like Christ. The old man of sin is dead, buried beneath the water, then arises as a new creature, ready to live the life victorious in Christ Jesus. My issue with the author of the article was not that baptism wasn't required but that the "water" was the vehicle for this change, which it most assuredly is not.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 07/21/09 - 05:02 pm
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Agreed, Reb. We'll continue

Agreed, Reb. We'll continue to fight wars together here. God needs people to stand up for His Word and principles on forums like this. We both agree that baptism is commanded, and is therefore essential. My only point is that I truly believe that baptism is just as essential for salvation as faith, confession, and repentance. As Saul's NT conversion shows us, it took immersion to effect forgiveness for his many sins. Paul didn't say a sinner's prayer or ask Jesus into his heart; he believed, confessed, repented (in the dark for 3 days), and then finally obtained forgiveness at his immersion after those 3 days. It's all God's ordained plan to save his people in this post-Pentacost "last days" period.

Lakefront1
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Lakefront1 07/21/09 - 05:32 pm
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As some speak (write) it

As some speak (write) it sounds as if you might be confused by baptism. Please note there are more baptisms than one. As a matter of fact, there are five. Each one plays a different part in the works of The Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ. The first baptism, Luke 3:3 and Acts 19:4 is an O.T. one. There is baptism into the Body of Christ, another is in water, the 4th is into the Holy Spirit and the 5th is with fire. God bless your thinking and work--all of you.

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