Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
As I wrestled with the fact that I had been baptized as an infant I remembered what I had read in the gospels. Jesus had taught his apostles to make disciples and baptize them and that whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. As I meditated on what was clear in the Bible, and considered what my mother told me, I came to the conclusion that what she had told me about being baptized as an infant didn’t really make sense to me. I was 18 and was just really reading the Bible for the first time, and believing what it said. How could I have been a Christian for all these years and not known when I had become one? This wasn’t the first time I was confused about where I stood with God.
There was a time when I was about 12 when my sister had told me that all I needed to do to be saved was say a prayer and invite Jesus into my heart. At that time I had never really read the Bible and had only been to a children’s Bible class once when I was little, and my mother hadn’t told me about being baptized yet. So, not wanting to go to hell I said the prayer. Afterward I felt no different, other than I felt like if I made any mistakes as a “Christian” I would go straight to hell. Around that time my mother had started taking us to a couple of different pentecostal churches.
Going to church at that time was very intimidating for me. People were speaking in tongues and I wondered why some did and some didn’t. I was told it was because some people had a stronger faith and the Holy Spirit was causing them to be able to speak in tongues. Hearing that made me realize that my faith was weak because I couldn’t speak in tongues. At that young age I felt I was bound for hell even though I had said the prayer, because I didn’t have a strong enough faith.
As I went into my teenage years these thoughts plagued me. As we all know as teenagers we become defiant and indulge in behaviors that are not good. While I didn’t do everything my friends did, I wasn’t all that I should be and felt If I were to die I would go to hell, after all my faith never was strong enough to begin with.
From age 14 to 18 I fell into the temptations that come along at that age and felt the guilt for all that I did wrong. On one hand I believed in God, but on the other I knew my faith was weak, I was a sinner, and God would condemn me to hell. Knowing this I thought I might find comfort in another religion or philosophy.
This lead me in many different directions until I was 18 and decided it was time to read through the New Testament to see what it had to say about being a Christian. So as I read through the Bible I had more questions than answers about where I stood with God.
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman