Backslider or never saved? What about being baptized again?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Art Vandelay, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Art Vandelay

    Art Vandelay
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    So this post ended up much longer than I thought, sorry.:type:

    I've been struggling over perhaps the last year wondering if perhaps I wasn't really saved for much of my life and also therefore if I should get baptized again?

    I was baptized as at maybe 13, grew up in the church, my parents are believers and read me the bible growing up. I would pray very selfish wordly prayers mostly, and I think I thought of Jesus as my safety net. I asked forgiveness of sin and stuff but, looking back in hindsight i'm not really sure that I "got it". Well through high school and particularly college I really went my own way. I recall a lot of anger against God and really doubting His existence for a time, I had decided to go my own way and stopped going to church, didn't feel comfortable in worship, thought it was a bit creepy at times. I really went a perverse way in college, got into the goth thing, ridiculous hair, makeup, wearing feminine clothing, suffered depression and thoughts of suicide. I thank the Lord that I still had some vague sense that perhaps Hell was real though so fortunately I never went through with those thoughts. My worldview was really very nihilistic for a time, I doubted God's existence and didn't really seek Him out.

    Well certain things happened in college, a certain eye-opening epiphany moment hit me and turned me back to believing that God was definitely real and i'd been a fool for turning from Him. Unfortunately, despite believing in God I still went my own sinful way for years. It wasn't until I met a couple involved with The Navigators organization in college and attended their meetings that I started feeling drawn back to Christianity specifically. They were very loving and welcoming to me despite my freakish attire. After graduating from college and moving back home I got a job, it was sort of depressing, but it afforded me free time. So I started reading my Bible at the start of my shift.

    It's been three years since and I've read it cover to cover twice now and studied all kinds of subjects and it has really changed my life. It has convicted me to really turn from sin and give up wicked things I'd been holding onto. I hate my former lifestyle, the sinful androgyny, the angry music, the selfish attitude, the arrogants, and hate, so many wrong beliefs, too many to list. I love reading Scipture now, God's true Word, I want to tell people about Jesus, I want to love others and be light in the world. The Word, it cuts me to the heart just like Hebrews 4:12-13 says, I love that verse, it is absolutely true. Years back I never would have imagined the way the Lord's been working in my life today.

    Anyway, just yesterday I read part of that George Whitefield sermon i've seen posted on here, "The Method of Grace", and I feel like it nailed me. I still remember being at church in high-school and praying that God would give me faith, even just a true desire to want to have faith, to have faith like I saw other people having, to actually joyfully come to church to praise the Lord, to really believe, instead of being bored and zoned out.

    Well I have faith now, more than I ever felt before. My hope lies in 1 Corinthians 15 being historically true, that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Scriptures written about Him. He is the Son of God, the Savior of Israel, born of the virgin, called God With Us (Isa. 7:14) and our Might God (Isa. 9:6); he is the Son of Man who will come and rule (Dan. 7:13), our King of Kings (Rev. 19:16), the "I Am" (Jn. 8:58/Ex. 3:14) and the First and the Last (Rev. 22:13/ Isa. 48:12) He is our God and became flesh (Jn 1:1,14); Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I get it now. He died for our sins, for all my wickedness, and was literally raised from the dead on the third day, and that by believing, I have crossed from death to life (Jn. 5:24, 6:47).

    -- So that brings me back to my questions; was I ever truly saved?
    I've often felt that it was just a real bad period of rebellion because I felt God had drawn me back to Him but that I was saved, but perhaps my "feelings" are wrong? Perhaps that period was to show that I was never really of the church? ie. 1 John 2:19

    -- Along with that, i've also had the feeling for probably a year that I need to be obedient to the Lord and get baptized but the thought of being "re-baptized" has been holding me back, cause I was already baptized. Should I go get baptized/re-baptized?




    Side topic, also on baptism, seems pertinent to the topic. I debated some Church of Christ friends a while back and have read some "early church fathers" stuff regarding baptism and the belief that one isn't saved until they are baptized. I didn't think their arguments were very convincing, but reading the "Apostolic Fathers" and seeing what the early church thought has since left me ...unsettled on the topic. On the one hand, I simply cannot reconcile such a belief (baptismal regeneration) with Jesus' clear statements regarding faith (and Paul's), particularly that once someone believes it is that moment that they have crossed from death to life (verses I posted above). Jesus' words are truth, so if what He said is true, and plainly stated, then one could not possibly get baptized fast enough to get saved, they'd already have been saved when they truly believed in Him. Baptism would have to come after one has already received eternal life. Still, John 3:5, and the apparent early church interpretation that "born of water" meant water-baptism, ergo, salvation hinged on baptism, has been bugging me for a couple months.
     
    #1 Art Vandelay, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2013
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Hi Art....it was the Holy Spirit & that Method of Grace sermon by George Whitefield that proved to me personally that I was not saved...or else, why would I have so intentionally have abused Christ by knowingly sinning? Now according to Whitefield (if I am understanding him correctly) there really aren't any carnal Christians....upon being provided Gods Grace, you are a new man. And you have grieved about your past sins and they have made you humble and your heart has broken for those past sins...those sins being a direct assault on your Lord and savior. If you have gone through that process then I could well understand your wish to be re-baptised. Perhaps this is something you should discuss with a good Baptist pastor.
    Like you, I was baptised via emersion...but I now know I was just a carnal sinner and my baptism at that point was not the baptism of a truly saved person...but that's me. If I could find a truly sincere Baptist pastor who was truly looking out for my soul, brother I would do it in a heart beat. But Art, we both know that its not the outward act that saves you...its the inward transformation in the soul...and the conscience that saves us. So perhaps when you have time, you could revisit the sermon Method of Grace and read the whole thing slowly...kinda study it and then meet with a trusted pastor to discuss your concerns. I am happy in any event that you are now walking in the Lord...a path you will find ever lasting life in! :godisgood:
     
  3. Zenas

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    Can you be circumcised twice? Paul portrays baptism as the Christian equivalent of circumcision. Colossians 2:11-12. I think that is your answer.
     
  4. Yeshua1

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    Actually, any time we reuse the Lordship of Jesus at any time over our lives, and choose to commit willful sin, at that momen until repenting/confession, we are "in the flesh" carnal Christinas!
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Paul did not make such a comparison in that passage. While there are parallels between baptism and circumcision, they symbolize two very different covenants. The Old Covenant had a physical means of entrance: one was born to Jewish parents or bought as a servant into a Jewish household (Genesis 17:10-13).

    One’s spiritual life was unconnected to the sign of circumcision. Every male was circumcised, whether he showed any devotion to God or not. However, even in the Old Testament, there was recognition that physical circumcision was not enough. Moses commanded the Israelites in Deuteronomy 10:16 to circumcise their hearts, and even promised that God would do the circumcising (Deuteronomy 30:6). Jeremiah also preached the need for a circumcision of the heart (Jeremiah 4:4).

    In contrast, the New Covenant has a spiritual means of entrance: one must believe and be saved (Acts 16:31). Therefore, one’s spiritual life is closely connected to the sign of baptism. If baptism indicates an entrance into the New Covenant, then only those devoted to God and trusting in Jesus should be baptized.

    True circumcision, as Paul preaches in Romans 2:29, is that of the heart, and it is accomplished by the Spirit. In other words, a person today enters a covenant relationship with God not based on a physical act but on the Spirit’s work in the heart. That is the type of circumcision to which Paul refers. Not the physical act, but a the spiritual act of rending your heart.

    One, Yesh, please ... as someone said the other day, proofread your posts before hitting "Submit." We have to read them a couple times to get their gist. No offense, OK? Just trying to help.

    Second, even as carnal Christians, people do not need to be baptized again. They just need to recommit to the Lord and lay down their own lives and let Him pick them up again.

    Art (or should I say "George"? :thumbs: ), only you know, through very close self-examination whether or not your experience at 13 was, in fact, saving faith. No one can tell you one way or another. But there is a clue: If you are now questioning it, then very likely it was real. Why? Because no unbeliever would ever question if they had a valid relationship with God, because they don't know what one is like. Therefore, it is most likely you need to repent and recommit. But the final decision is up to you.
     
  6. Yeshua1

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    true that once we have been saved and water baptized the correct way, immersion, no need to get that redone, and also true that we need to daily resubmit and presents ourselves to God in order to have Him enable us to live as we ought for Him!
     
  7. Zenas

    Zenas
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    Really? You could have fooled me. But Paul is tricky like that, writing a lot of things he didn't really mean. I'm glad there are people like you around who have the gift of discernment and can set me straight.
     
  8. preacher4truth

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    Hey man, look at the present, not too far back. It seems a change of grace took place in your heart since the age of 13 experience. It looks like you have been sanctified as well.

    Go ahead and be baptized, it will be good for you and for your conscience. After that, never do it again, simply grow, as one who shows things that accompany salvation -- Hebrews 6:1ff.
     
  9. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Colossians 2, NASB
    11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
    12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Emphasis added]
    Yeah, well, if you'd just read the word instead of trying to making claims about it that don't stand up to the slightest scrutiny, you'd know these things too.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    Art - as a NON-Baptist, please limit your posts to the area of the BB that is open to all Christians.

    The Baptist-ONLY area are just for that - a safe place for Baptists to discuss question, issues, theology, etc.

    As to the op - a person is regenerated by the holy Spirit of God. He then should be obedient from a heart of faith to be baptized as commanded.

    There is no such thing as "re"baptism. It happens once, after salvation, in obedience (NOT for saving or assurance or any such).
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    wrong addressee
     
    #11 The Biblicist, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2013
  12. Zenas

    Zenas
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    If you say so I guess that makes it correct. Augustine, Calvin and Zwingli must have been intellectual midgets just like me because they all took Colossians 2:11-12 as showing that baptism is to Christians what circumcision is to Jews.
     
  13. The Biblicist

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    You have a half truth. The half truth is that circumcision under the Old Covenant does correspond to baptism under the new covenant. However, the other half that you are missing is that EXTERNAL circumcison FOLLOWED the birth of a PHYSICAL INFANT under the old covenant just as baptism FOLLOWS the birth of SPIRITUAL children under the New covenant.
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    I find your op refreshingly sincere and honestly seeking the truth. I will give you my view and you can chew on it and if you like it swallow it but if not just spew it out.

    Salvation is not a decision but a supernatural act of God whereby he gives you a new heart with a new want to. The difference is between reformation which is all about decisionalism and regeneration which is an act of God. When God saves a person they are a "new creature" and all things are new.

    In regard to baptism, any application of water by any form prior to regeneration just gets you wet - it is not baptism. Baptism is a public expression of your faith in the gosple of Christ, his death, BURIAL and resurrection and that is why you must be "BURIED" in water to identify with the gospel (Rom. 6:4).

    There are millions of professed "Christians" today who are RELIGIOUS but never been born again. They were raised to be religious and the violation of the conscience promotes REFORMATION that never really satisfies or works.

    To me, it sounds that you really experienced new birth when your heart was REALLY changed. Salvation is God giving you a NEW HEART that likes what he likes and hates what he hates - that is what is to be born again.
     
  15. Art Vandelay

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    Thank you for your replies guys, Bob, sorry for putting it in the wrong section, and thanks for the clarification regarding regeneration by the Holy Spirit and baptism being a one-time thing.

    Earth, Wind, and Fire, thank you for sharing your experience, I'll definitely have to sit down and read through that whole sermon and give it some more thought. I was thinking of emailing my pastor from my families church and seeing what he thinks as well.

    I guess I need to consider this a bit more. Interesting point, that an unbeliever wouldn't know what a relationship with God is like. I was just remembering today how back in college I had consciously made a decision to stop praying at one point, that was difficult for me because I'd always prayed about stuff and it was like a breath of fresh air to turn back to God. Stuff like that really makes this hard to figure out.

    Thanks for that, The Biblicist, just saw your post. I think you are definitely on to something there, that is the way the Scriptures have seemed to me, that God does the work in us giving us a new heart. Man, good answers you guys, thank you. I'm gonna have to chew on this stuff some more...
     
    #15 Art Vandelay, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2013
  16. BobRyan

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    This is a non-issue with me because I believe the Matt 18 and Romans 11 statements that the Bible makes that totally debunk OSAS.

    It does not matter whether you were born-again to start with - the point you have clearly made is that you left and now you have come back.

    Time for re-baptism.

    Your are saved now - and you were lost by your own statement in high school and college and ??

    Matt 18 speaks of "forgiveness revoked" where the one fully forgiven "I forgave you ALL that debt" according to Christ's teaching - decides to turn from that life and life to himself. All his former debt is returned to him in full. Jesus said "so shall my Father do to each one of you" if you do not show that same love for one another - that same spirit of self-sacrificing forgiveness of others - has you have experienced in the Gospel.

    In Romans 11 "you stand only by your faith.. you should fear... if God did not spare them neither will he spare you".

    Speaking of those others who "left because of unbelief" and speaking of those who now "stand by their faith alone". God tells those standing by faith should "fear" and should persevere "continue" in that walk of faith else they will also be cut off. HE also says of those who were "cut OFF for UNBELIEF" that God is "Able to graft them in AGAIN IF they do not CONTINUE in unbelief".

    Better to go with the Bible on this one. It means you don't have to debate the past and issues with OSAS - just go with what you know to be true. That you were lost in College and that you may well have been saved early in your youth - but that only puts you in the Romans 11 position of those who "left because of unbelief" and to whom God says He is "Able to graft them in AGAIN if they do not continue in unbelief".

    I think that Free Will Baptists - get this doctrine right.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
    #16 BobRyan, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2013
  17. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Bingo....nailed it:thumbs:
     
  18. The Biblicist

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    Art, on this particular aspect of the forum you will find every heresy under the sun being taught from sacredotalism to seventh day adventism. If you would like to get a better and Biblical based foundation on salvation go to the following site and read my book "What is Man." It is a fairly short booklet but it deals with man in a comprehensive manner in four steps, (1) Pre-fallen man; (2) Fallen Man; (3) Redeemed man and (4) Glorified man.

    http://www.victorybaptistchurchchehalis.com/books_by_mark_fenison.html
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Regardless of what our brother Biblicist says, and what you believe, circumcision does not correspond to baptism. As I said earlier, all males eight days old were circumcised. Are you going to tell me that they made a profession of faith?

    Baptism is to occur only when a heart change has taken place. It is a public testimony of the change Christ has made in our hearts. So yes, Augustine, Calvin and Zwingli were wrong. Wouldn't be the first time great men were wrong. Won't be the last, either.
     
  20. Yeshua1

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    IF one does not hold to OSAS, or etrnal preservation of the saints either, then you MUST agree that Hebrews 6 states to us if a really saved person decides to loe the faith, then can NEVER come back, as he just recrucifed anew the Son of God, trampling on his blood!
     

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