Was I Baptized For The Right Reason?
by Steve Higginbotham
May I ask you a question? “Why were you baptized?” Did you know that if you asked this
question to several different people, you might receive several different answers? Some of the
answers might be:
- • Because I was saved and my baptism was to show people that I was already saved.
- • I wanted to please my parents/spouse/or friends.
- • I didn’t know why, because I was baptized as a baby.
- • I did it to join the church.
There are other reasons in addition to the ones above that are sometimes mentioned, but this
should demonstrate that different people are baptized for different reasons.
But now, let me ask you another question, “Does one’s reason for being baptized matter to God, or is one reason as good as another?”
Consider this example, for it might help us answer that question. What if I said to my teenage
son, “I need you to go to the grocery store for a gallon a milk.” So off he goes to the grocery
store, and returns twenty minutes later with a box of cookies. Do you think I would be happy
with him? Of course not. But what if he said, “I obeyed you. I went to the store just as you said.” Would I not then say, “Yes, you went to the store, but not for the reason I told you to go?” You see, not only did I want my son to go to the store, but I wanted him to go to the store for the right reason.
Did you know that when God commanded us to be baptized, he also specified the reason for
being baptized? He did. Listen to what the apostle Peter said, “Repent and be baptized,
everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins...” (Acts
2:38). Did you see that? Not only did God command us to be baptized, he also specified the
reason or purpose (that is, to receive the remission or forgiveness of sins).
So if the reason for my baptism was to please my parents/spouse/or friends, then while I did the right action, I didn’t do it for the right purpose, and God wouldn’t be pleased.
Or if I thought I was saved before I was baptized, then I wasn’t baptized for the right reason
(forgiveness) for saved people are already forgiven.
My point is this. God commands us to be baptized. But not only does God command baptism,
he also specifics the reason (to receive remission or forgiveness of sins). If receiving forgiveness was not the purpose of your baptism, then you didn’t really obey God. It would be like my son going to the store as I commanded, but instead of going for milk, he went for cookies. Now, back to my first question. What was the reason for your baptism? If you weren’t baptized for the reason or purpose of receiving forgiveness of your sins, then you have only partially obeyed God. If this is the case, then why not make the decision to be baptized for the reason God specified (the remission of your sins)?