Sunday, January 11, 2015

Unreserved Commitment Is Primary

In past few weeks I've spoken to a number of newly associated ones within our local congregation that have expressed reluctance to getting baptized until they conquer all their bad habits. While that is a very noble goal, it is also unrealistic. All humans are imperfect and are going to continue falling short of God’s standard. Recently, I asked a person that had this feeling of unworthiness: “Was the apostle Peter baptized when he denied Jesus three times before Jesus was put to death?” That person thought a moment and then confidently replied, “Yes, he was!”

Indeed, Peter was baptized. And his heartfelt devotion to Jesus was seen in his words recorded at Mark 14:29. But, when faced with the stress of the situation, he buckled. This demonstrates that even a strongly committed person can act wrongly. What is important is to ask yourself, “Am I completely, unreservedly convinced this is the true faith and that I am totally committed to doing my very best to please God?” If the answer to that self-examination is “yes,” then that person should be baptized.

Still, some feel their understanding needs to be much deeper, but this is not so. Some fellow believers have expressed appreciation for my being “such an intelligent man” when it comes to practical explanation of scripture. To this I always immediately respond: “Intelligence is not what matters to our God. What does matter is obedience to his moral standards, his social standards, and whole-hearted commitment to the assigned work.”

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