I have been baptized recently and but my mom has not yet. I have been trying to encourage her to get baptized and she has said that she wants to be baptized soon. However, I recently read some things on your website about repenting before being baptized that make me wonder if this endeavor is pointless.
The issue is my parents divorced when I was very young and I have never been given a clear answer as to why. I don't know if it was because of adultery or something else. My mom is currently dating a divorced man and I don't know the reasons behind his divorce either. So would it do any good for my mom to get baptized if she may be in an adulterous relationship? I am thinking no.
I haven't talked with her yet about it since it is a very sensitive subject. She seems to be getting stressed over less complicated issues like going to Bible studies and switching to a much more sound church. I don't think she is at the point yet where she realizes being a Christian will require her to do hard things in life at times. I don't know how well she would take having the things about marriage and divorce being pointed out to her. I fear that she may reject whatever progress she has made and quit being a Christian if I were to point that out to her.
That raises the question in my mind, would it be wrong to point out something in someone's life if it may cause them to stumble in whatever progress they have made toward Christ?
Also, I wonder if my baptism was valid. At the time I wasn't in any sort of sin that I was aware of and I think that I had repented of all sins and was ready to quit them, but I, unfortunately, have slipped for a moment in some areas of sin that I, at the time of my baptism, was ready to quit. So I am thrown off as to whether it was valid or not. I was certainly not wanting to remain in any sort of sin at the time. Your help would be greatly appreciated. I am going to type my questions after this to make them clear.
- Do you have to repent for baptism to be valid?
- What if you don't know you are in sin at the time of baptism?
- What if you shortly sin after baptism?
- How should we handle people who are or may be in sin but have shown that they may not have much endurance or discipline built up yet to handle tough times, but have shown that they are growing some? Should we say something about the issue as soon as possible or try and build them up over time so that they can handle it?
- Being a Christian does involve growth over time, doesn't it?
It doesn't do a person any good to be baptized for the remission of sins if the person doesn't see that he is sinning. Peter told the Jews, after they realized they had sinned, that they needed to repent and be baptized to be forgiven of those sins (Acts 2:36-38).
When a person repents, he is changing his mind about sin. If he isn't aware that something he is doing is sinful, then a repentant person will change when he becomes aware of the sin because the Christian is determined to leave the old life of sin behind.
In your mom's case, your concerns are about what you don't know. The best that you can do is show your mother what Jesus says in general about divorce and remarriage. How it applies to her life is something she has to face. If learning the truth means she rejects Christianity, then that is her choice. Hiding the truth from her will not benefit her. But I think you need to give her more credit. You should assume that she'll want to do what is right until she tells you otherwise. You teach people to help them make the right choice, but the teacher needs to remember that he can make the choice for the student.
Being baptized doesn't protect you from sin. It gives you a clean slate to start with in your battle against sin (Acts 22:16). If you slip into sin, you pick yourself up, acknowledge your problem to God (I John 1:9), and then start again. Often it helps to talk to an older Christian about your struggles to get ideas on how to deal with the particular problems you are facing (James 5:16). Still, you are going to sin (I John 1:8, 10; 2:1). None of us are immune to the tricks of the devil. The point about being a Christian is that we are committed to continue fighting against sin. Sin doesn't invalidate your baptism. You are still in a covenant with Christ.
Being a Christian means you've signed up for a lifetime of growth (Ephesians 4:11-16).
If you see someone in sin, you gently point out the problem and offer suggestions for avoiding sin in the future (II Timothy 2:24-26). Being taught what is wrong and why it is wrong is a part of growing.