That is right. I got baptised again, this time at the Source of the Nile. God has been teaching me about the importance of physical symbols in our faith in recent times and this was a very significant one.
A bit of history:
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian family and have been a believer all my life. It is an incredible gift to have known the Lord throughout. Brought up in the Uniting Church meant that I had an infant baptism. Confirmation is the norm with adults and those who grow up within the church. When I was 11 I knew I needed to decide whether I believed in Christ, knowing His work in my life or simply because my parents told me He is here.
Having the Holy Spirit in me, seeing His works around me and with the authority of the Scripture I acknowledged God at 11 and desired to be confirmed. Sadly, I was told by the pastor to wait a couple of years until I was older before making the decision. I know it is important to weigh the cost of the cross but I feel it is dangerous to judge what is in another’s heart when it comes to their faith. And so I believe that my public confirmation occured when I was 11.
Then why the second baptism?:
Paul and the early church struggled against dualism (seperation of body and spirit; the belief that the body/ physical is evil and the spirit is good). I think that, whilst physical symbols such as baptism or wearing a cross are not necessary for salvation or to live a Christian life, they can be powerful declarations of our faith and are a form of glorifying God.
The last few years I have toyed with the idea of being baptised again but it never felt right. I did not want to be baptised because I felt it was expected of me. I know that some church communities have adult baptism and sometimes the fear of man crept in to my heart with the lie that they would think less of me if they knew that I had not been baptised when old enough to make that decision myself. But I did not want to give in to this fear of man and so I choose not to be baptised when others around me were. At other times I simply did not feel that it was the right season in what God was using me for or doing in me.
Today I felt a peace that it was the right TIME, with the right PEOPLE and in the right PLACE.
Whilst I have not known the people with me for a long time (only three weeks), I could not have wished for a more amazing group of people to witness the occasion. To the glory of God 5 of us were baptised: Eric, Josiah, Tom, Jerry and me.
The call to be Baptised:
Why should Christians be baptised? Why would one make the choice to be baptised? What is its purpose?
1) Christ led the way and was baptised: Mat 3:13-17 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
2) John the Baptist, who baptised Christ, declared that it was a physical symbol of being baptised by the Holy Spirit: John 1:32-33 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. I would not have known Him, except that the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.’
3) Christ commands it: Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” John 3:5 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and of the Spirit”.
I don’t think that Christ means literally that you cannot enter heaven unless you are baptised in water because He also tells us that all you need is to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, believing in His death and resurrection. But I do beleive that it honours and delights God when we confess Him as our Lord and Saviour by the public testimony of baptism.
I pray that my life and my actions will continue to proclaim my faith and give testimony to the Spirit within me.
Christ gave everything. He demands everything.
Choosing Christ costs eveything. He is worth the cost!