by Bill Fix
What is our focus in discussing religious matters with others and teaching the gospel? Are we merely trying to get someone to switch a denominational allegiance and be “COC”? Are we focused so much on baptism that we downplay the importance of faith and true repentance? May it not be so.
Becoming a Christian should be like a caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. If one is baptized but fails to make a true metamorphosis in belief, character, and action, did he do anything more than just get wet?
Consider Paul’s words in Romans 6: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin… You also reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:3-6, 11).
Paul certainly emphasizes the importance of baptism, but equally present here are the elements of faith and repentance. Our faith leads us to make a commitment. True repentance demands we turn from our sins, and we bury our life of sin in a watery grave of baptism as we turn to the Lord. New converts to Christ must understand this change is necessary. How silly would a butterfly look if we saw it fly over to a flower and then change back into a caterpillar. That is how pathetic we appear if, after being converted, we revive our old man of sin and resume walking according to our previous sins…