Baptism and Overcoming Sin
Some wonder: Shouldn’t a person waits before baptism until he overcomes all sin? The Bible gives us the answer to this question when Ananias said to Saul after the Damascus Road Experience, “now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The evidence that God gave Saul by appearing to him in a vision was sufficient. So, why should he delay formally becoming a Christian (Acts 8:36)?
To wait until a person overcomes sin before baptism is like saying a baby should never start walking until he is certain that he will never fall. A Christian is a newborn in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is why the experience of conversion is called “the new birth” (Galatians 6:15). The ugly, sinful past no longer exists for a child of God. A person’s sinful past is forgiven and forgotten by God at conversion. We begin the Christian life as babies, rather than adults, and God judges us on our attitude and the trend of our life, rather than on a few slips that we may experience as new Christians.
A new believer in Jesus should want to be baptized as soon as possible. “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” (Romans 6:4). Baptism points to two roads, back to our death to sin and forward to our new life in God.
After the apostle Philip taught the Ethiopian eunuch “the good news about Jesus,” and “as they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’” (Acts 8: 35–36). Right away, they stopped the chariot, and Philip baptized him. The desire of the eunuch to prepare for membership in the church of his new-found Lord is a great example for us to follow. He had learned the truth of Christ as the Savior, and he had forsaken his sins (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). Therefore, there was no reason to delay his baptism.
There is no need for people today to walk along under heavy loads of guilt and shame. This load and burden is so depleting to the human personality that people will go to almost any length to achieve a sense of forgiveness and cleansing. So, why wait? Just come to Christ who offers the help and deliver you from all guilt. He promised, “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).
The Lord wants to clean and heal His children and He says to all who approach Him, “I am willing; be cleansed” (Matthew 8:3). Not only does He clean, but He also delivers the believers from the old nature of sin and gives a new nature and total victory. So, the believers may be able to declare, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
In His service,