Commands from Christ are Not Optional

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I recently received a daily devotional email sample from a denominational organization hoping I would be interested in signing up. After the devotional, they answered a question. The question was: “Can you go to heaven if you trust Jesus as your Lord and Savior but you are not yet baptized?”

They began their answer by saying: “Yes. Baptism has nothing to do with salvation.” Later in the answer they stated, “Baptism is an ordinance instituted by Christ until the end of the age.” Clearly this command was not only for the apostles who heard it but for His followers throughout the entire age. Finally they concluded with, “One is saved without, apart from and before baptism. Those who are saved should desire baptism as a public profession of faith, but please realize that it is not necessary for salvation. If a person believes in Jesus as Lord and is never baptized, they will still be saved.”

I would like to analyze how they answered this most sincere and important question about baptism and see if it really “holds water.” I think it is very interesting that they admit that baptism is a command from Christ and then declare that it does not have to be followed. Imagine that! The command from Jesus Christ to be baptized is optional (so they say)! I wonder what other commands from Christ would be optional? I guess all that are not in line with man’s teachings.

All facetiousness aside, listen to what Jesus Himself said of what our attitude should be toward every command He gives:

• John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

• John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.”

• John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love”

• John 15:14, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”

Note that there is no room for options, opinions, or omissions. That’s because Jesus is the One with all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 18:18). Whatever He has commanded, we’d better do. And Jesus commanded baptism as necessary for salvation (Mark 16:16) and declared it as the process for making disciples (Matt. 28:19). The apostles went about baptizing “in the name of” Jesus Christ (i.e. in the manner and for the purpose He authorized, Acts 2:38; 10:48). They knew something we should never forget. If it is a command from Christ it’s not an option.

Selected
via Beech Grove church of Christ
Spring Hill, TN

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