The Devil doesn’t prevent you from reading, hearing and believing that baptism is essential to salvation, for such is written in the scripture (Mk 16:16 f; Acts 2:38); but he is the author of procrastination which suggests that you have plenty of time to do it. Here are a few of those reasons not to obey the gospel of Christ TODAY!
1. “If I accept that, then my parents went to hell when they died.” First of all, if they are dead nothing can be changed for them for the better or worse. Their eternal fate is sealed. Remember this, he that loves father or mother more than Christ is not worthy of Him (Mt 13:37).
Those who argue from the non-belief of their parents are horribly inconsistent. Do we wear the same type of clothes as our parents? Do we insist on the same means of transportation enjoyed by our parents? Do we ride horses (or walk) and reject the modern conveniences (cars, trains, planes)? Logically those who argue non-obedience from the inaction of their parents should be flocking to Pennsylvania to join the Amish, since that sect is about the only one left that consistently tries to implement this type of thinking in all its consequences!
The scriptures teach that we stand before God independent of our parents. Every person who dies faces the judgment of God (Heb. 9:27). Our parents cannot take our place nor we theirs. We escape the Divine judgment that may be on our parents only if we ourselves do what is right in the sight of God (Ezek. 18:14-18).
2. “I don’t want to believe that.” Look at Peter. Peter did not want to believe that Jesus would die and he was confident that if He did he would be His companion to the bitter end (Matt. 26:30-35). His refusal to believe in his own human weakness resulted in disgrace when he denied his Master three times.
Look also at Pharaoh. He did not want to believe that Moses was a genuine spokesman for God. As a result, he lost the firstborn sons of all his citizens. What a price for refusing to believe the word of God!
Look at Jesus’ enemies. They did not want to believe that He was a King and they mocked Him for making the claim (Matt. 27:35-44). Because His claims were legitimate and were vindicated by the resurrection, they stood condemned as murderers and the apostles bluntly reminded them of that fact (Acts 2:29-36). What was the solution for their evil? They were told it was repentance and baptism (Acts 2:37-38). If baptism will save the souls of murderers, how much more will it save us, who are guilty of so much less! Baptism is like an open door leading to redemption and peace with God. If we will not walk through it the blame belongs on our shoulders, not on God’s. He has given the opportunity to be saved, but we have rejected it.
3. “What difference does it make if the scriptures teach it?” First, notice the apostles. They spoke by inspiration (Jn 16:12-15) and they taught that baptism was essential and will save us just as much as water saved Noah while at the same time condemning to death the rest of the world (1 Pet. 3:20-21). Dare we reject the testimony of inspiration? Dare we give our personal prejudices a higher value than the revelation of the Divine Oracles?
Secondly, notice the words of Jesus. Those words will judge us if we reject them (Jn 12:47-49). Jesus clearly taught the necessity of baptism (Mark 16:16). Therefore, if we refuse baptism then Christ’s Words will stand in judgment on our eternal fate.
True love of Jesus means obedience (John 14:23). Men loudly cry, “I love Jesus” and “I believe only the words of Jesus”, and then they have the audacity to look at His words in Mark 16:16 and insist, “baptism doesn’t matter!” Baptism is a test of true love. Baptism for the purpose Jesus set (forgiveness) is a test of true love. Obviously, most people do not have such a true love dwelling in their hearts though they loudly proclaim it with their lips!
4. “I’m a good moral person.”So was the apostle Paul. He was raised in the strict morality and restrictions of the Pharisees (Acts 26:4-5). What he did, he did sincerely, out of conviction (v. 9) and what he did was to persecute the church (vs. 10-11). In all of this evil he was acting out of a good conscience (Acts 23:1). A good conscience only proves how you feel not how you should feel!
Also, take note that Cornelius was a good and moral person inasmuch his prayers came up before God as a memorial. Yet, God required him and his household to be baptized in order to be saved (Acts 10).
A good moral man was the young person who wanted to become a disciple of Jesus. From his youth he had been extremely moral but his unwillingness to obey Jesus in other matters resulted in him deciding not to become a disciple (Mark 10:17-22). He would not give up his money; today good moral men will not give up their pride. Have times really improved? Morals are important and vital once a person is saved, but a person can be redeemed regardless of his past character. Titus 3:5 makes plain that even a person who performs “works of righteousness” cannot be saved unless he is baptized. Alone, good morals are insufficient.
5. “But I believe!” So do the devils and they tremble as well (James 2:19)! Yet, faith without works is dead (Jam,2:20)! When you merely believe in God, what have you done more than others? Most Americans believe in Jesus but are all Americans going to heaven? God wants men to go beyond belief, to prove their faith by their conduct. As James writes of himself, “I by my works will show you my faith” (James 2:18). When we have accepted baptism for the purpose prescribed by scripture we can begin to say the same.
Conclusion: There are many reasons which are not mentioned here which prevent many who believe Jesus to be the Christ from repenting for their sins and having those sins washed away by the means of baptism. Perhaps you were sprinkled as an infant. The bible commands immersion in order to be saved. Even if sprinkling was commanded, as an infant, you were not capable of believing or repenting of your sins. As an infant you were not even capable of sin. Think for one moment, what if you died today? Would you be saved just because you were planning on being baptized into the body (church) of Christ?
Allow this to be your last warning: Do you believe Jesus to be the Christ and are you willing to confess such before men (Rom 10:9,10)? Are you willing to give up your past sins and do them no more (Lk 13:3)? Are you willing to be immersed in water and be buried with Christ, raised to walk in the newness of life (Rom 6:3,4) ? If so, why not, why not, WHY NOT DO IT TODAY ! Today is the day of salvation. Now is the acceptable time: Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your heart, obey the gospel today (2 Cor 6:2 f; Heb 3:7-9) . Tomorrow you may die. Tomorrow you might get so sick you are not able to obey the gospel. Today might be your last opportunity to be saved. Why take such a chance with your eternal soul? There is no pleasure here on earth worth your eternal soul. There is no amount of money. There is no man or woman worth your soul. Whatever is causing you to delay, cast it off, and be saved today! Don’t look for a more convenient day (Acts 24:25). You know how, do it now before it is everlasting too late!