Archive for April, 2010

Baptism and Repentance

April 5, 2010

Baptism and repentance

Following our theme on baptism we move onto look at repentance.  This is important as it is linked to baptism.

Acts 2.38”Peter said to them, “(AY)Repent, and each of you be (AZ)baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

In my NAS bible dictionary it says, “ To repent is to change attitude, and the test of repentance is the altered conduct (matt 3.8,, lk 3.8), sorrow according to the will of God produces repentance without regret (2 cor 7.10).  Repentance is the first condition of forgiveness(acts 5.31)…This is initiated by the will of God.”

At its most basic level repentance is a ‘change of mind’.  (meta- change +  nous- mind = metanoia= change of mind ).

It is interesting that Jesus says that it is only the sick that need a doctor.  At the time of Jesus a lot of the Pharisees thought that they were perfect.  For example they kept the hundreds of the laws found in the Old Testament (especially torah and then added some to protect the torah).

Jesus made the point that from God’s point of view their attitude showed they were very deep in sin.  This is why sometimes people who are ‘lawless’ i.e. drunkards and hedonists are possibly closer to repentance.   Because of their stupid life style they have need to be made pure somehow.   This is basically why the story of Adam and Eve is so important.  They disobeyed God and sin came into the world.  We are all tainted with sin and have been separated from the presence of God.  However the Bible says that in the first Adam all die but in the second Adam (Christ) we can all be made alive.

The question you have to ask yourself is; before you can come into the church, the kingdom of God you need to repent and say sorry for your sins. Pray to God and confess your sins to Him and tell Him you are sorry.  Then accept, believe in your heart that Jesus was for you and believe, accept that your life is in his life through the resurrection. Make Christ your Lord and master.

Then you are ready to make a public statement through baptism that you belong to Christ and are now a member of the church.

The question of infant baptism and dedication

However as the centuries progressed, infant baptism such as in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheren, Church of England chose infant baptism as the means for church membership.  The emphases moved from the individual to the family.  The order of faith was changed.  It was through the faith of the parents that a child came into the church.  However this must be linked to confirmation.  When the child is older, he or she has to confirm those promises made on their behalf when they are older.  This has been the main way for millions of Christians world wide.

There is a problem however: Where is repentance?

On the other hand of you reject this path what about your children whom you want to be in the church?

For some Christians the answer is dedication.  The child is dedicated to God’s gracious care until he is old enough to believe in Christ for himself or herself.

Obviously each parent has to go according to their own conscience before God.  However each path still needs faith on behalf of the child.