|Volume 23 Number 8 August 2021
“If baptism is where sins are forgiven, how many times do I need to be baptized? Do I need to be baptized after every time I sin?” This is a frequently asked question, and so it is good for us to have an answer ready. The simple answer is found in Acts 8, the story of Simon the Sorcerer. When Philip preached the Gospel and worked miracles, he convinced many, including Simon, and they were all baptized (12-13). When Peter and John came to give the miraculous portion of the Spirit, Simon attempted to buy power to pass on the gifts and fell into sin in the process (18-19). Peter immediately confronted Simon about his sin and warned him not that he needed to be baptized again to forgive this sin but to repent and to pray for forgiveness (22). Once we are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:4; Galatians 3:27), our sins are continuously forgiven as long as we walk in the light (1 John 1:7).
Why Do People Get Old?
Life is interesting from a 6-year-old’s perspective. Our daughter asked her precious daughter a series of questions. Her answers were really cute, and sometimes thought-provoking. One of the questions was, “Why do people get old?” Here is her answer: “Because they need to die and go to Heaven.”
If I know my little granddaughter, she said that very matter-of-factly. What faith a little one has. There is one goal in life, and she is already aware that we are going to die, and we are getting ready for Heaven.
The apostle Paul wrote these words in Philippians 1:20-22. “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell” (NKJV).
As Christians we need to be focused on the fact that we do indeed grow older because we need to go to heaven. I recently heard a recording (from last year’s Polishing the Pulpit lectures) in which a brother dealt with verse 21. He made an excellent point when he said, “For to me, to live is ________, and to die is _________.” He said if you will fill in the first blank, then he could tell you what goes in the second blank. Paul filled in the first blank with “Christ.” Hence, the second blank is automatically filled in with “gain.” The brother pointed out that so many fill in the first blank with a whole list of things: money, pleasure, job, etc. If that first blank is filled with anything but Christ, the second blank automatically fills in with “loss.” If I emphasize anything else but Jesus as the major focus of my life, the result will be eternal loss.
My grandbaby is already learning that life is heading toward death, and death is our doorway to Heaven. I hope she will always keep that in her mind. May we all learn to live for Jesus so that when death comes, it will bring a joyous victory, our gain into Heaven. I encourage you, as well as myself, to honestly look at the first “blank” that we need to fill in, like Paul did in Philippians 1:21, and ask, “How am I filling that blank, and what is the focus of my life?” All of the blessings of now, all of the love we can share with family, all of the accomplishments we may be able to attain, all of them fade into nothing if at the center of my life I do not find Jesus. We have work to do; we have life to live, but only we can make death our gain – through Jesus!