One of my dad’s favorite stories to tell is about the day I was baptized. The pastor at my parents’ church had never heard such a long name and practiced for days to get it right
He walked the halls of the church repeating, “Ashley Elizabeth Mackenzie Odell... Ashley Elizabeth Mackenzie Odell...”
The pastor’s practice paid off because he got each one of my names correct when I was baptized — the first time. You see, my parents belong to a denomination where they baptize children as infants. It signifies their promise to raise their children to know the Lord and also recognizes the covenant God made with His people to save them.
My parents stuck to that commitment and raised me in the church. I gave my life to Jesus at 7, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown in my relationship with Jesus. When I was 29, I decided to get baptized again. It was a choice I made because it was an opportunity for me to go public with the faith that I claimed. Where the first baptism was a promise my parents made to raise me in the faith, this time baptism was an outward expression of my heart for Jesus.
Stories like mine can make the subject of baptism confusing and leave people wondering, “Do I need to be baptized again?” There are times when the answer to that question is yes and times when it’s no.
Do You Remember Being Baptized?
If your story is like mine and you were baptized as an infant, you don’t remember it. This declaration of your parents’ faith is something you can be thankful for.
We believe baptism follows salvation and is a public profession of your faith. The Bible says, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).
My prayer is that while my parents will see my choice to get baptized as a fulfillment of the promise they made when I was a baby. If you have asked Jesus into your life and don’t remember your baptism, it’s time to take that step of faith on your own.
Were You Saved After Your Baptism?
There are times when a person chooses to get baptized but not for the right reason. Sometimes there’s pressure from family or friends, or a desire to just go through the motions because that’s what church people do.
But if you surrendered your life to Jesus after you were baptized, and you now understand His death on the cross was for you, baptism is your next step. 1 Peter 3:21 says, “...and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Have You Walked Away from God and Recently Come Back?
We all have seasons we feel distant from God. Some of us even deliberately walk away from Him out of hurt or anger. We choose our own selfish desires rather than God’s best for us.
God loves us so much that He will continually pursue us until we come back to Him. When that happens, all God asks of us is confession and repentance. Turn away from the choices that put you before God and ask for His forgiveness. Tell a friend who will encourage you and pray for you. Getting baptized again isn’t the answer. You’ve been saved, you’ve made your declaration of faith. Now let your actions of obedience tell the story of God’s love for you.
God used my parents’ faith to point me to Him and lead me to Jesus. I even adopted their baby-naming philosophy, giving each of my children four names. It is my prayer that when my kids get baptized, they will know that each of their four names are written in God’s book because they’ve surrendered their lives to Jesus.
If you’ve given your life to Jesus and never been baptized, baptism is your next step.
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