In my reading last week I came across a curious piece of history involving baptism...
It seems that around 400 AD baptism was hitting a height like never before. It was really important to people's faith. So important that many believed that you were not forgiven of your sins until you were baptized, it was the most important thing you could do in your faith.
That seems all well and good, except it caused an unexpected backlash. If you knew there was a single action you could do that would forgive your sins and you could only do it once, when would you do it? It seems the Roman people of the time decided the best thing to do was to wait for baptism. After all, what if you sin after it? You can't be baptized again so what many people would do is hold off on baptism, hold off on declaring their faith in Christ, hold off on forgiveness and living as true Christians and wait until their deathbeds to be baptized. It became such a big deal there was a division in the church, these people who were followers of Christ but waiting for baptism would be considered Christians, but not part of "the faithful".
This whole piece of history got me to wondering about how those people felt, half-Christians as it were. Do you think they still served as faithful and as much as other Christians? What about in their hearts, did they fell loved by God or a little less loved than "the faithful"? What impact did that have on them sharing their faith?
And the biggie, do we still do this today? Maybe not in the evidence of baptism, but do we hold back from doing things for God because we haven't arrived at some far off spiritual point yet? Do we not serve, give, love as much because we're not what we consider "the faithful"? What are we waiting for?
More on this next week...