“What?!?” I stared incredulously at my Christian friend. She had just assured another friend of ours that he was definitely going to heaven because he had been baptized. This conversation occurred a very long time ago, by three high school kids trying to sort out life. I didn’t know much, but I did know that you weren’t saved just because you had been baptized.
It’s one of those conversations that sticks in your memory. I remember that we were in gym class during the swim session at the local rec’s pool. I remember the three of us somehow getting around to a conversation about religion, until finally this topic came up. I remember my Christian friend giving this assurance to my other dear friend, even though he didn’t act like a believer, didn’t have any fruit to show he was a believer–why he didn’t even claim to be a believer.
What a lie from Satan to give assurance where there isn’t any.
I was reminded of this incident yesterday, when our pastor gave the perfect analogy. On their wedding day, both the husband and the wife will put a ring on to symbolize their love and fidelity. This ring shows the world that their hearts are taken and unavailable.
But anyone can put on a wedding ring. Nothing stops a lonely, wishful girl from going to the store and buying a wedding ring and putting it on her finger. She can do that and give the appearance that she is married, but does that change the fact that she isn’t?
Not at all.
I wish I would have had this analogy all those years ago. It would have helped me explain why baptism is just a symbol of salvation and not an assurance of salvation.
We need to go to God’s Word if we need assurance of our salvation–
I John 2
These are just a few chapters and verses (there are many more) of what we will desire if we are truly a believer. Oh, we will mess up and make mistakes often. And, of course, we are all at different stages of growing up in the Lord. But true salvation changes us and our desires. Our hearts will long to please the Savior. We grieve over our sin. We have a desire to live a holy and righteous life, just as Christ commanded.
Baptism has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Baptism is just an important symbol. It’s a way to tell the world that we have decided to follow Jesus and that we are not ashamed of that decision.
This topic of baptism may not even be part of the modern conversation, anymore. I really don’t know. But, while I do not claim to be a theologian, I do try to align myself with God’s Word in everything I write. And I am quite confident that anyone who studies God’s Word will see the truth about baptism. It’s a symbol, not an assurance.