Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Reasons to Rejoice and be Thankful!

Meditation for the week of November 27, 2011

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”  Mark 16:15-16

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year.  I trusted in the Savior on November 24, 1963.  President Kennedy had been assassinated on the 22nd and that cataclysmic event  made me realize that if there was anything to this business of being saved, I needed to get matters settled with God.  If there wasn’t anything to this business of being saved, I needed to forget about it and get on with life.  Thankfully, when I finally realized that I couldn’t figure out what it meant to be saved, I found out that Christ had died 2000 years ago to save me.  What a relief!  I found out that I didn’t need to work it out, I didn’t need to figure it out, I just needed to believe God when He said Christ had died for my sins.  I did believe God that Sunday afternoon and the promise that I believed in that day still gives me peace. 

This Thanksgiving weekend has also been a weekend to remember. I had the joy of baptizing my granddaughter.  She is young but she can clearly tell why she knows she is saved.  I asked her before I baptized her if Christ had died for her sins.  She said yes.  I asked her who was watching besides her family and some friends.  She said Jesus.  I asked her if she thought the Lord Jesus was happy with what she was doing and she said yes.  I believe she was right. 

Baptism seems to be one of the most controversial concepts in the Bible.  Some make too much of it and tell us that we cannot be saved unless we are baptized.  For some that means baptizing their infants so that they will become children of God.  Others think that the verse for today says that you must believe AND be baptized in order to be saved.  What they fail to understand is that the verse does not say that the person who believes MUST be baptized to be saved.  It simply assumes that a believer will be baptized and those who believe and are baptized are saved.  The latter part of the verse is clear that the Lord condemns those who do not believe but there is no mention of condemnation for those who believe but are not baptized.

Some make too little of baptism and seem to think that it is unimportant. Baptism was important in the new testament and it is important to the Lord.  We can go to heaven unbaptized but what believer would want to go to heaven unbaptized if they have the opportunity to be baptized?

The Greek word translated baptism means immersion.  The baptisms in the new testament were immersions. Romans 6:4 makes it clear that baptism is a picture of a death, burial and resurrection.  Thus, Scripture is teaching that all those who believe in the Lord should show it by being baptized or immersed in a watery grave.  They arise from that grave just as Christ arose.  We who are saved have openly confessed our willingness to be identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.  Baptism is important if we want to please the Lord and be obedient to Him.   While baptism does not save in the sense that it makes us fit for heaven,  it is an important step that helps preserve us from the corruption of this world as we walk this new life with the Lord (1 Peter 3:20-21).

My granddaughter took this important step this weekend.  I believe the Lord was rejoicing.  I know her family was–and so was I.

Bruce Collins

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