“If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” Acts 8:37
The power of the gospel of Jesus is not limited to just changing your eternal destination. As the gospel was explained to the eunuch from Ethiopia, he understood there would be changes in his life that would be not only spiritual but physical as well.
As the conversation between the two men about Jesus was coming to a close, the subject of baptism obviously was a topic of discussion that was included in the proclamation of the work of grace Philip presented to this man.
The man from Ethiopia, seeing a pool of water, asked a question of Philip:
“See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Act 8:36)
Philip, to be sure that this man had a complete understanding of the gospel, said:
“If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Act 8:37)
This encounter with the gospel changed this man’s eternal destination and his remaining years he would walk on this earth. Baptism is the first defined act of obedience a follower of Jesus is instructed to do after they, “thou believest with all thine heart.” The baptizing of babies and children who are not able to “believest with all thine heart” is at best a religious act that does not have spiritual implications.
The man from Ethiopia responded to the Gospel of Jesus and not only consented to but requested baptism. Different religious groups will place different degrees of importance on baptism and who can administer and how and where it must take place.
A simple biblical observation of this encounter makes the understanding of baptism clear. When you hear the Gospel of Jesus and you accept the saving grace that Jesus’s death had made available to you, now you are able to understand and desire to celebrate your new found “Friend and Saviour" in the physical world as well as the spiritual world.
To be baptized as a follower of the gospel is one of the greatest experiences a follower of Jesus can have. It is not only an act of obedience to Jesus but is a public display of the spiritual journey you are taking in this world.
Baptism has become a religious “football” and it depends on what team you are on to show how important and what purpose baptism holds in the life of a believer. Some religious groups do not practice baptism; forming their opinions based on their religious dogma and yet others will proclaim the forgiveness of sin is achieved by the baptismal waters.
Baptism is not a religious activity that is dictated by a single denomination or church group. Baptism is an act of obedience every born-again follower of Jesus should desire to experience. The purpose of baptism, like most biblical doctrines, has been redefined by many church groups to be tailored to fit their religious views.
Friend, don’t get caught in the trap of religious debate. If you were baptized as a baby or a young child, before you were able to “believest with all thine heart,” you have not experienced the baptism of a believer but a religious activity created by human logic.
If you are born-again, be like the man from Ethiopia and ask yourself this question, “What doth hinder me to be baptized?”
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