Question:

Hello,

I hope you are well. I have a question about baptism. When I was 13, I was baptized into Christ. However, I later realized I had only done it out of pressure. I was baptized into Christ when I was 19. Not long after, I began to have doubts as to if I truly repented. For many years I doubted it. Eventually, I was baptized a few days ago. But now I’m having doubts again. It is not that I doubt God's power to save. It is that I have so much anxiety about getting it right. This time, my doubts arise because now did I fully understand baptism? I knew this time I repented, and I knew I needed to be baptized for salvation, but now I’m wondering did I know the full extent of it? Should I have been thinking about being cleaned of sins? All I could think was that I needed to be baptized for salvation and I know at one point in my life that it was for the remission of sins. But that wasn’t what I was thinking at the time. It was just “I need to do this to get to Heaven.”

My problem is that I just want to get to heaven and I know what is needed and I want to do what is necessary. I just need help on having faith that my baptism was correct.

Please help me in any way you can.

Thank you.

Answer:

"The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted" (Proverbs 29:25).

One of the things we notice throughout the New Testament is that people did not delay in responding to the message of salvation. "And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain -- for He says, 'At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.' Behold, now is 'the acceptable time,' behold, now is 'the day of salvation'" (II Corinthians 6:1-2). Three thousand hear the gospel on Pentecost and were baptized that day (Acts 2:40-41). The Ethiopian Eunuch discussed Jesus with Philip while traveling and was baptized at the next water source (Acts 8:26-39). A jailer in Philippi was told what he needed to do to be saved and was baptized that same hour (Acts 16:30-34). I'm positive these people did not know everything there was to be known about salvation, but they knew enough.

You have added all sorts of extra requirements on yourself. No matter what you have done, it isn't good enough -- not because you failed to keep God's commands but because you decide that it can't be enough. Each time you find something to doubt. In truth, no matter how many times you get baptized you will always find a reason to doubt it.

You say you don't doubt God, but you really do doubt that God will keep His promises. You think that only perfect people can be saved, even though God said no one is perfect. "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:9-10). "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy" (Romans 9:16).

It is not a matter of whether you did as God required perfectly or even "good enough." You are expected to grow and mature (I Peter 2:1-3). Stop focusing on where you've been the look to where you are going. "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

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