Last year, Fox & Friends showed a clip of Michael Bloomberg’s speech at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. Alluding to Donald Trump’s rise to the top of the Republican primary field, as well as his own dashed bids for the White House, Bloomberg said, “I’ve always said that the country is not ready for a divorced, Jewish billionaire from New York City. But after watching a divorced, Christian billionaire from New York City shoot to the top of the polls, I’ve decided to become a candidate, for baptism.”
The three hosts on Fox & Friends didn’t really seem to understand what the joke was all about and showing some nervous laughter seemed to be even more confused about baptism. One of them wondered if Bloomberg could be baptized and for what purpose he would be baptized. Another hesitatingly and doubtfully suggested, “To become a Christian?” Then, the third said you can “just ask Jesus into your heart” and “you can be baptized any time”. They all looked a little puzzled about the whole thing.
Now, I’m not opposed to joking around but let’s not forget how serious a matter baptism really is and how important it is to understand what it is really all about. Unfortunately, many people, including those in most churches professing Christ, have failed in both of these points. Too many tell us that it doesn’t matter if one is baptized or not, and even more are confused about the purpose of baptism.
Jesus taught that baptism was a requirement of entrance into the kingdom of God saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). He plainly said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
If you want to know the purpose of baptism, consider these inspired words of the apostle Peter, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). This he said to those who had called for the crucifixion of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, not too many days before. They asked, “What shall we do?” Peter did not tell them to ask Jesus into their hearts so that they could be forgiven. Instead, he told them to repent and be baptized so that they could be forgiven.
When Saul came to believe in Jesus as the Savior, and after spending three days in penitence fasting and praying, God’s preacher said to Saul, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). It is clear that baptism is a part of coming to Christ for salvation (1 Peter 3:21). It is not a work of merit whereby we could ever earn our salvation, but an act of faith (Colossians 2:12) in which we call upon the Lord to cleanse us of our sins by the blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5).
So, all joking aside, are YOU a candidate for baptism?
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135