This past Wednesday, January 15th, 2014, I made a very public and very emotional confession in front of my brothers and sisters at the Bridge Creek church of Christ. I opened up and admitted to myself and everyone that:
I don’t remember a whole lot about my childhood, one too many bumps to the head I guess, but I do remember the day that it “clicked” for me that Jesus was the son of God and that I needed to accept him as my Lord and Savior. My parents attended Bible Baptist Church in Chickasha and we were there on a bright and sunny Sunday morning when I seemed to finally really hear and understand what was being said. I told my mom and dad I wanted to be saved and walked up to the front as “Just as I am” was being sung. I said the sinner’s prayer, and really believed it. Confessed Jesus as God’s son and my lord and felt fantastic, I thought my salvation was beyond question.
I believe it was that evening when we returned to church that I went in front of the congregation, and they apparently voted (which I thought was strange) on whether or not I was ready to be baptized. I guess I passed the test because I was baptized that night.
I never really thought about those events again until I entered college. A friend of mine died in a motorcycle accident and it caused me to start looking more closely at how I was living my life. I got back into the habit of reading my Bible, and started attending church with Shambra. It was about that time after studying and understanding the steps of salvation that I started to doubt my own salvation. Looking back, I should have removed the doubt back then. I told myself though that I had not really missed any steps, my reasons were pure when I was baptized, I was not forced into anything, therefore I need to stop worrying and move on. So that is exactly what I did.
I told people I was a Christian and would give people my salvation story hoping that the doubt in my eyes wouldn't show. I studied scripture with people half way around the world on mission trips telling them exactly what they needed to do to save themselves from judgement. I believed and taught hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized.
However, occasionally while reading scripture or after hearing a sermon, doubt would creep into my mind. I was unsure about my salvation due to my doubts about the scriptural validity of my baptism. "That is just Satan causing me to question." I would say to myself, and proceed to put those feelings back in the box where we humans keep our deepest and darkest secrets, never to let them out.
Then I started reading Muscle and a Shovel. Immediately I related to the author and his spiritual upbringing. His story is so similar to mine its scary. I was reading it last week and found a paragraph that really hit me like a punch to the gut. It says:
I realized that my doubt of my baptism had been neatly tucked behind a wall for years. The numerous times that wall crumbled was not the work of Satan, but instead the work of God! After all, what possible reason would Satan have for motivating me to undergo a scriptural baptism? I couldn't think of any.
I finally realized that my reasons for not obeying the Gospel in the way I know to be correct are not great reasons. The reasons really only boil down to pride, shame and fear. I feared that if I acknowledged that my original baptism as not really a baptism at all, what did that make me in the time since that happened? I have truly believed that Christ was the Son of God for over 15 years, have been on the other side of the globe teaching people what they needed to do to be saved, and I had not even done it myself! At worst that made me a hypocrite, and at best it made me completely ignorant.
I don’t think I realized until recently how heavily this has been weighing on my heart. I was exhausted from thinking about it, researching it, talking about it. Last Wednesday evening, January 15th, 2014, at the age of 30, I finally decided that it was silly to dwell on it any longer. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by obeying the Gospel and being baptized into the body of Christ.
That night, I slept better than I have in a long time. The doubt is gone. I have been raised to walk in the newness of life.
I wanted to tell this story for a few reasons. I want this to first serve as another public confession of my faith and belief. Secondly, I want to encourage anyone that may also be wrestling with doubts about the scriptural validity of their salvation to study out the truth for yourself. Grab a Bible and actually read it with an open mind. If you have a denominational background as I have, I strongly recommend reading the book Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank.
If you would like to study God's Word with me, hit me up. I'm by no means a Biblical scholar, but I'd be glad to sit down and study with you.