Is my baptism invalid because I did it to avoid going to hell?


When I got baptized, I was being baptized not necessarily wanting forgiveness but more about keeping myself from going to Hell. I was sincere in my commitment to God giving Him my life, but I was baptized out of fear of going to hell. This burdens my conscience every day and I don't know what to do. Please don't rebuke me harshly. I'm not trying to worry or upset anyone, I just don't know what to do.

Whatever advice you can give me, I'll take and I won't bring this up again. My heart keeps condemning me, and I just feel lost.


There is no problem with your baptism. Like many people with OCD, you search out reasons not to be confident about who you are and where you are going. It isn't that God said that there is only one valid motivation required in order to be properly baptized. You have imposed on yourself a requirement that God did not make and that is why you are miserable.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7).

When Peter preached his first gospel sermon, his audience was motivated to be baptized to avoid the wrath of God.

"'Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ -- this Jesus whom you crucified.' Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.' And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!' So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:36-41).

Fear of the consequences of not obeying God is a perfectly normal reason to decide to submit to God.

"Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace" (Luke 14:31-32).

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