Someone chastised me recently, for putting forth a note of “apology” for my lack of sensitivity at some articles I recently wrote. Here, let me name them for you (something which I did not do in that short “note”): (1) “Is This What It Takes To Get Jesus On The Front Pages?” (May 5, 1999) (2) “The Water and the Spirit, Part 1” (May 17, 1999), and, finally, (3) “The Water and the Spirit, Part 2” (May 21, 1999). In each of these three articles I displayed a type of “arrogance” that was unwarranted. Hence, they are now “down and out” from our records (and I trust that you shall do the same by deleting them, for they “do not exist” in God’s eyes once repented of!) These, then, were the articles which I was referring to (let it be clear).
So do not chastise me for repenting of a wrong attitude. That was all I did: I repented of a wrong and hurtful attitude, inasmuch as I could have gotten my point across by means other than using the “harsh” language displayed in those three articles (this is what the Spirit convicts me of). Shame on me! I do hope you will all be gracious enough to forgive me for being insensitive. With regards to some other articles, that some of you might have “hoped” (against hope!) that I would have repented of, no, I do not repent at all for writing my two articles, “Have You Been Baptized” (Part 1) (May 3, 1999), as well as “Have You Been Baptized” (Part 2) (May 7, 1999). You’ve got to be joking. I read those over with a perfectly clear conscience. The Spirit gave them to me, and I do not apologize for them in the least. Be baptized! If you have not been baptized post-conversion, you are living in sin and disobedience! You can argue all you want (and pray all you want, too), but you will end up living an unfulfilled life.
I am not perfect — that is very true and I hope very obvious (one of the good things about “making mistakes” now and then, is it forces you to look to Jesus and not me. Also, I trust that you are a person of “the word” and not just blindly swallowing everything I give you. Read and study the word (the Bible)! It is there for you to read — and obey!). While it is true, then, that I am not perfect, I have had people say to me, quite frankly, “I can’t understand why I don’t hear God the way you hear him, or why I haven’t experienced the same types of experiences that you have? How come I don’t understand all this demon stuff or spirit stuff? It’s not real to me, I can’t understand it, I’ve never really heard God speak in any way whatsoever except maybe through circumstances and people. But I don’t feel the Spirit’s power like you seem to be continually talking about. How come I can’t “see” the things you see?”
Well, let me say one thing. We are not all designed to “hear God” in the same way. Nor are we all supposed to experience the same things. Nevertheless, the individuals I am thinking of (there are at least three of them) have not been baptized post-conversion, but have been content to settle for their “tradition” which has claimed that infant baptism is “good enough.” My opinion then — and I offer this as an opinion, not as fact — is that God will not give the gifts that he gives to a non-baptized person that he gives to those who have been baptized. God makes a clear distinction between the two! One is living in sin, the other is not. One has said, “Yes God, take me. I’m going all the way with you,” and has therefore “bared his shame” by being baptized after having come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The other has said, “God, if you exist, I’m not willing to do what Jesus did. I’m too ashamed or my tradition has told me that what I did when I was younger was good enough.” Take your pick. If you were God the Father, to whom would you distribute your gifts? The honor goes to the person who is willing to lay his life down for Christ. Get up off your seat, and get baptized, and show God that you are willing (something you could not do when you were an infant). Then, God will be willing to distribute some of his gifts to you!
God, then, is calling for people in this generation to “rise up completely” to the task of following Jesus. It is not an easy call. Jesus made it very clear, when he boldly said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this sinful and adulterous generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his father with the heavenly angels!” (Mark 8:38) My, what a verse! Astounding! I love it so much, it was one of my very first memory verses. As far as I’m concerned, I’m ready to die for Jesus (something Simon Peter said, so I have to be careful). But the point is, I’m sold out to doing his will the best as I can — like Simon Peter was, though yes, he did err in a significant (yet forgiveable) way. If you’re provoked by the baptism message, I would say, “Please do a careful study of the Scriptures, and leave your tradition behind when you do that study. Jesus warned about those who put the Scriptures aside in favor of their tradition, in several spots in the Scriptures:
“Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition,” he said to the Pharisees, and condemned them to a life without Christ and without any hope at all (Matthew 15:6)
“You are in error, because you do not know the Scriptures, or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29)
Study the Scriptures, then, and see what you come up with. You might be very surprised.