I was baptised just over two weeks ago on the 11th November 2017 – Remembrance Day and wow – will I remember it! As I came up out of the water I felt & heard myself give a long, loud, groaning cry but it is quite hard to describe what was going on because it was something quite outside of my experience. It’s like it was me but wasn’t me. I remember thinking, “My goodness I’m screaming” but couldn’t do anything about it. It was something leaving me. It felt like all the shame and grief and regret over my past sins was going out of me. Then I spoke in tongues and felt such peace and joy.
Before my baptism I struggled, mostly in secret, with depression. I was plagued with negative thoughts about myself and some days there was just a blanket of heaviness over me that I couldn’t shake no matter what I tried. That depression left me at my baptism. Instant healing in my mind. I no longer have a constant feeling of regret about my life. My past sins are dead and no longer whisper to me of my unworthiness. My mind does not dwell on the past and if I do think of my past sins there are no more overwhelming negative emotions associated with the memories.
I have decided to share this personal experience with you all because from my experience in the church, I see that the power of baptism, and the essential part it plays in our salvation, is an area that has been neglected and poorly taught.
Baptism is powerful.
Romans 6: 3 – 8 says: 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him”
This passage very clearly tells us that baptism is how we are united with Christ in His death and we are raised to new life with Him. I can personally testify that the power that my old sins had over me completely went at the time of baptism, leaving me feeling free and strong. I now also find it much easier to find victory over things which used to be stumbling blocks for me.
Baptism must be accompanied by repentance.
In Acts 2 : 38 Peter answers the question, “What must we do to be saved?” with “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
I had been baptised by immersion in my early thirties when I understood that a sprinkle of water on my head as a baby was not baptism according to the Bible. I understood that every time baptism happened in the Bible it was by full immersion so that’s what I wanted. However, I did not understand repentance, so after my baptism I still went on living a “compromising Christian life” to the extent that the worst sins of my life were committed after that baptism. There was no repentance (turning away from sin) and no power in my Christian life.
By the way, this exposes the futility of infant baptism. If baptism is about dying to the old life then we must want to turn away from the old life. So how can a baby repent? They have no “old life” to turn away from!
During the weekend of the 11th – 13th November I attended a “Kickstart” weekend led by Torben Sondergaard, founder of “The Last Reformation” and it was during his teaching on Saturday that God confirmed in my heart my need for real baptism. I had turned my back on being a lukewarm, compromising Christian a number of years ago but could not shake off the feelings of regret and shame even though I had confessed and received forgiveness.
Many churches today tell us we only need to pray a simple sinner’s pray and “Voilá” You’re a Christian! Saved! On your way to heaven, so just relax!
Nowhere in the Scriptures do we find a “Sinner’s prayer.” I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with praying one. It is often a significant heartfelt confession and surrender to God which He hears. What I do believe is that our salvation involves more – we must be baptised in water and the Holy Spirit. I can hear some of you now saying”But we are saved by faith, not works” (ie baptism can be seen as our works). What is faith if it has no obedience to the one we have faith in? Jesus tells us to be baptised and to be born of water and spirit.
When we read the book of Acts we find that new believers were always baptised as soon as possible after a confession of faith and repentance. That’s because baptism is an essential part of our salvation as there is power in baptism. It is death to the old life. Demons have no use for a dead body, so when we die with Christ in baptism, they have to leave!
There is so much more to this subject. Torben Sondergaard’s teaching is excellent and I encourage you to check out his website, watch his movie “The Last Reformation – The Beginning” and check out his many videos and Pioneer School teachings. https://thelastreformation.com/
The power to really live the Christian life, as seen in the book of Acts, comes when we repent and are baptised in water and the Holy Spirit.