On my old blog I ran this post and got a great comment from an anonymous visitor. My anonymous visitor has some great thoughts and questions in the comments and we’ve talked via my comment system from time to time.
About a week or so ago I got this comment on that same post:
“Hey – it’s me “Anonymous” again. I had bookmarked this in my favorites and again was doing some research about Christianity and wanted to get your thoughts or recommendations about where I can get some more insight. I’m having trouble with the “Christian” belief that only Christians are saved and going to heaven. I also am trying to learn more about baptism and being saved. I’ve read many places that you don’t have to be baptized to be saved, but if this is the case, why are some Christians forcing it on me? I don’t feel comfortable doing it because I don’t think I need to do it if it’s going to cause so many problems for my family. I also believe I already have a relationship with God, and that he loves me. Exactly the way I am. Baptized or not. He knows me inside and out and understands everything I am going through when no one else seems to. I also disagree with the belief that only those who are Christian will get to heaven, because it imples that the majority of the people in my life are going to hell. While they do believe in God, and are good people, they grew up with different religions and choose to have a relationship with God that way.”
What’s great about this comment is that I struggled with all of these same thoughts and emotions leading up to my Baptism on June 22nd 2008.
I was always under the mind set from the Church’s I attended that I HAD to be baptized in order to be saved. If I didn’t get baptized then I wasn’t “fully” saved and therefore wasn’t going to be allowed into heaven. Which in my mind made me feel pretty bad because I had no desire to be baptized and let everyone know I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.
I was happy with my quiet acceptance of Him and just doing life the best way I knew how.
I think the first thing I need to put out there is the idea of a “Christian”. Personally I am not a fan of the idea of being called a “Christian” because it seems to put me into a specific religious category and opens up all kinds of debates about which “sect” of Christianity is right and which is wrong. Personally, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m not Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian or any other group. I see anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior as an equal regardless of how they choose to worship Him.
So are only Christians going to heaven? Is everyone who’s not a Christian going to hell? Well the short and honest answer is yes, quiet possibly.
If you believe what I believe.
I believe that anyone who genuinely accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, asks for forgives and repents for their sins has a place in the kingdom of heaven. It doesn’t matter to me if this person makes this choice when they are young, old or on their death bed.
The point is they MADE the choice.
You see it is a choice. God wants us to choose Him and His son Jesus. He doesn’t want us to just show up and be present at church and do good deeds and expect all to be hunky dory.
So how do we get salvation? How do we become saved? We choose it.
Romans 5:1 – “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
We choose to say “Jesus Christ is my lord and savior“. We choose to confess our sins to God & Jesus. We choose to repent from our sins and TRY to avoid them. We choose to follow his teachings and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in whatever way the Holy Spirit moves us to.
That’s how we get salvation.
Notice there is nothing about being baptized? There is no mention of being dunked or sprinkled with water or anything else related to baptisms.
So why do some “Christians” say you have to be baptized in order to be saved, in order to gain access into the kingdom of heaven etc? Because they are taught or led to believe that. I was, in my young age but I still resisted because something about that “thinking” didn’t sit right for me. I didn’t understand how this “preacher” could dunk me in a pool of water and because of that “act” I was saved and could go to heaven.
Over years I have come to understand that this is not the way. Baptism is a profession of your faith. It’s like standing up on a milk crate in the center of town and shouting “I love Jesus Christ, He is my Lord and Savior!”
If you noticed in Romans 5:1 there was a comma at the end of the verse. Romans 5:2 goes on to say “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”
Here’s the deal. You have to want to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You have to want to surrender yourself to His teachings and His ways. You have to want to live your life for Him and His kingdom and not for your own selfish desires.
But you do not have to be “baptized” to go to heaven. In time my prayer is that you will get baptized not because I think you “need” it, or because it will make you a better Christian. No I pray you will be baptized my anonymous friend because you will be so filled with God’s love that YOU WANT to share it with everyone.
Until that day though please keep building your relationship with Jesus. You need to keep seeking wise council and learning all you can. Keep your heart open to Him and in time no one will be able to pull you away.
I don’t have all the answers and I’m sure some of my words above could be debated and proven wrong or misguided. So do your own research and talk to trusted wise followers of Christ. I got a lot of good stuff from this page which asks “Is Baptism necessary for Salvation”.
If for some reason you’ve read this post and feel led to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then pray this prayer. Pray it with an open and accepting heart. Pray it to you Father in heaven who loves you and only wants the best for you.
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
If you’ve prayed this, with an honest heart then you’ve started a wonderful journey. You are my brother or sister in Christ and even though I do not know you now, one day in the Kingdom of heaven we will meet.