You may have seen that little diagram before about the plan of salvation. It’s a diagram with stair steps that takes you one step at a time until you land in a circle that says “in Christ”. That used to be a diagram I referred to often until I realized it was incomplete.
You walk up each step and you go from hear to believe to confess to repentance to baptism and then you’re in Christ. And it’s over. You’re done.
That’s not Christianity. That’s a checklist.
So many Christians today make it to baptism only to think that there are good from there on out and that’s simply not the case.
The New Testament letters are full of examples of people needing to continue on in faithfulness:
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians and encouraged them to excel still more. He also told the Philippians to let the love abound more and more. Both churches were doing a good job, but they were encouraged to do better.
Ephesians 2:9 says that we’ve been saved by grace through faith and Eph. 2:10 goes on to tell us that God has prepared works for us that we should walk in them. There is a responsibility after salvation to work. By no means does this work save, but by no means can we sit back and be lazy after salvation either.
Peter’s audience in his first letter is a bunch of baptized believers who are going to go through some terrible persecution. Throughout the whole book he keeps telling them to endure and outlast this time of suffering. He doesn’t say “you’re baptized so you’re good.” He tells them over and over again to remain faithful (1 Peter 4:12-19).
In the book of Revelation Jesus tells the church at Laodicea that since they are neither hot nor cold he will spit them out of His mouth. Jesus is going to vomit these Christians out of His mouth because of their complacency and lack of action. We’ve got to ask what will Christ to do us today? Too many assume that baptism is the ending point of Christianity. Once you get wet your service to the Lord is over. That is simply not true.
Baptism is the beginning point. Baptism is the point at which you become a new creation in Christ and begin to live a new life in Him. After baptism it’s time to get to work in the kingdom of God. Baptism isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of a beautiful life in Christ.