I am a teenager, and I have a few questions I'd like to ask.
I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church. I said the sinner's prayer (or something like it) when I was 6 or 7 years old. I wanted to follow God (I think), but I never got around to being baptized and I don't really think I had any fruits of the Spirit. After a long period of time dealing with chronic Irritable Bowel Syndrome with seemingly no answer from God to my prayers, bullying, and a love of science; I eventually became a pro-evolution, God-hating atheist.
It wasn't that one day I woke up an atheist, but with all the pain and unanswered prayers for healing, and science "proving" the Bible false over the years, I truly thought God was either evil or not real. I truly can't believe what I use to believe now. I hated God. I blasphemed, attributed healing to medicine and science, hung out with atheists and other people, and fell into other sins. But for some reason when the thought to curse the Holy Spirit popped into my mind, I always shot it down quickly and said "no."
I would not be writing to you if I still was like this. A couple of months ago I was watching a debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. I realized, I'm going to die and this sent me into a depression that there was no point to life. I think the Holy Spirit gave me the thought: What if I'm wrong about God? So I prayed, "God, you know I don't believe in you, but if you really exist give me a sign." And He did. That week was the best week of my life. God showed me love, the best I can describe it is like how a mother soothes her child from a terrible nightmare. Ever since then I've messed up (a lot), and He has disciplined me, but I still keep seeking Him. I've decided that even if there's no hope of me going to heaven, I want to be His servant.
Enough background. My questions are:
- If I were to get baptized, would you say I was saved before, or was my childhood confession fake?
- I think I can still be saved and go to heaven. My main thought was that only God could have brought me back. The wheat and the chaff and the bad trees don't produce good fruit teachings have been stuck in my head. But what about Hebrews 6:4-6 and the unforgivable sin? People say apostasy is the unforgivable sin. Is there a relationship if any? Could you please break down Hebrews 6:4-6 for me, especially the part on crucifying Jesus again, please?
- What's the point of the preservation of the saints' passages if it's so easy to lose your salvation and fall?
- Could you explain to me baptism in terms of why it's needed to be saved? Currently, I think of it as a way of showing commitment and weeding out people who want heaven but not the "you will be hated" part. Kind of like how Jesus told the rich ruler to sell everything and that showed his true colors. Plus I feel it's a work. Say I was shown the power of God and I'm on my way to church to be baptized, but a car hits me and kills me. Would God send me to hell? Please put some light on this.
- Should I be baptized in the church I still go to, considering they teach doctrine I don't totally agree on (once saved, always saved, baptism not needed, etc.) and should I be open about this to my parents and church?
I know it's long, and I'm sorry about all the questions, It's just that I find there are no good answers to these questions on the Internet concerning people in my situation who really didn't start, fell away, and now have a fire for God. Plus Satan using this against me hasn't helped. It's always two extremes on this topic: either you can't lose grace and if you fell, you weren't saved to begin with (which I don't dare to even buy into), or there's nothing you can do after you professed Christianity and fall away -- there's no sacrifice left (which I don't think is right because Hebrews 6:4 talks about a very mature Christian who knows better not a babe in Christ, and why would God bring me close to Him if there's nothing He can do to save me?).
I love God now and I pray you to answer me soon. I thank Him for every blessing. I find sin less attractive every day. Though I still struggle with sin, temptation, doubt, and many different teachings, I still want to be a good servant of the Lord. Not because of treasure, not because of heaven, not because of fear of hell, but because God is like a friend to me.
Sorry for the long post and the multiple questions, but I guess what I'm asking is can Jesus' sacrifice cover all the sins of my past, even though I somewhat knew who he was when I was against him? I really just want forgiveness, even though I'm unworthy and definitely don't deserve the love he's shown me.
Peace be with you and God bless.
It is interesting that you turned against God because you decided He wasn't answering your prayers for healing, so you turned to science which hasn't provided you healing either. But evolutionary beliefs are not really science since science is about testing ideas, which requires reproducing events. The beginning of this world is not reproducible.
When you come down to the core of your questions, it is answered by Jesus' statement: "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Nowhere in the Scriptures do you find Jesus telling people to pray a "sinner's prayer" to be saved. But he did say, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).
Baptism is a work -- something you have to do -- but then, so is faith. "Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent" " (John 6:28-29). To choose to believe is a work; it is something that you have to do, which no one else can do for you. Those who argue against works are really saying that God doesn't expect you to do anything in order to be saved. But Paul said, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). In themselves, those works do not save anyone, it is God who saves. Yet, at the same time, God has stated that the people He chooses to save are those who are willing to do His will. If you want to see everything that is related to salvation and why it is there, see: What Saves a Person?
When a person argues that there may be an imagined situation where God's command cannot be accomplished, they are trying to find a way to avoid the command. Any excuse will do, no matter how far-fetched. "The lazy man says, "There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!" " (Proverbs 22:13). Does this nullify the command to work for the food on your table (I Thessalonians 3:10)? No!
But why stop at baptism? What if a person meets a Christian and sets up a time to learn about the Bible, but dies before he learns the Gospel? Does he lose heaven because he didn't have a chance to gain faith (Romans 10:17)?
What I note is that when a person wants to become a Christian, God helps him. I trust that a man who desires God will not die on the way to his baptism because God would protect him. However, in your case, consider this: if you did die before you were baptized, could you really tell the Father that you didn't have a chance to be baptized? I guess someone might try, but God's response would be to point out how many opportunities were passed by. That is why we have to seek God while we have the chance. "For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).
Essentially, you started down the path toward God, but you got yourself sidetracked for a while. You now realize that you need to get back on track. You realize in your own life that whether you are saved or not is up to you. God is willing to save you, but He won't do so against your will. No one can force you to lose your salvation -- that is what God promises. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand" (John 10:29). But this doesn't mean that a person can't decide to walk away from God.
Hebrews 6:4-6 is written to Christians about trying to get someone who left the faith to come back. If a person continues to stay in sin and refuses to listen to God's teachings, then there isn't anything I can do to persuade him to return. My only tool is God's word and if that is rejected, then there is nothing left until he changes his mind. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6). This passage doesn't say it is impossible for them to come back. It is telling the Christian that it is impossible for them to renew the fallen brother, who once was knowledgeable and dedicated if he doesn't want to come back. This passage doesn't apply to your situation.
Since you asked about the unforgivable sin (which by the way the phrase is not found in the Bible), see: Are You Unforgivable?
Yes, you need to be baptized, since that is a command of God and required for salvation, but I'm curious why you want to be baptized by a group that no longer believes in the necessity of baptism. (As an ironic side note: the Baptists got their name because they once did believe in the need to be baptized to be saved, but this was back in the 1600s.) Would it not be better to join a church that follows after the full will of God?