Friday, December 29, 2006

Whole Family Baptism – Part 3: My Baptism as an Adult

During my senior year of high school I threw a small party while my parents were away. Not a major bash, maybe fifteen kids and some beer and pot. But the pot was bad and my body got angry with me. For hours I was vomiting, dry heaving, and wishing that it was all over. The cry of my heart that night—as I lay on the floor with friends laughing all around—was: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus, have mercy on me!"

And he did! I walked away from the party scene that night, never to return. In a very real sense, I became a new man. I wanted to be with Jesus again, in his word, with his children, singing his praises forever.

Within a few months of beginning to attend the youth group at our church I told the pastor of my desire to get baptized. I wanted to be numbered among the elect. I wanted to state publicly that Jesus' death and resurrection was my only hope and joy. So I was baptized and proclaimed publicly in a Sunday evening service my undying love for my Savior.

But here’s the problem. I was a very young man struggling with horrible sin. My heart was yet divided. In fact, the very night I was baptized I fell prey to temptation and this sin haunted me for years. I was so young in the faith that I often didn’t even know how to fight the good fight. The day of my baptism is not a happy day in my memory. Fervent in spirit? Yes, for the Lord and his enemy.

Only after years of growing in the Lord and maturing by his grace have I come to realize that this is the plight of every young Christian. Sanctification does not happen instantly. Thus, every adult baptism demonstrates two truths. It demonstrates our new standing before the Lord, but it also demonstrates that we are just infants in the Lord (sometimes eight months old, sometimes eight days old, and sometimes, as was the case with Philip, only eight minutes old). Yes, we have been washed, and yes, we have been justified, but we are oh so young—just beginning to root out that old heart of sin.

Well, more later. Apologies for those who were looking for biblical or theological arguments for my position, those will come later.

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