"And Now Why Tarriest Thou?"
Larry R. Ping II
As Saul and Ananias finally met, and teaching had been done, Ananias asked “And now why tarried thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). This is an excellent question to those who are putting off baptism. Why are you waiting? Why do some tarry? Some tarry because…
1) They Believe Baptism Is Not Necessary For Salvation. The Lord’s statements contradict such teaching. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). Baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) and causes one to be put “into Christ” (Gal. 3:27). “In Christ” is where one can find “all spiritual blessings” (Eph. 1:3), “redemption” (Rom. 3:24), and “hope” (I Cor. 15:19). It is in Him we can become a “new creature” (II Cor. 5:17), find “salvation” (II Tim. 2:10) and gain “eternal life” (I Jn. 5:11). The book of Acts tells of those who were baptized while away from home (Acts 2:5-41; Acts 16:14-15), while travelling (Acts 8:26-40), and in the middle of the night (Acts 16:25-33). How can one know all these things and teach baptism is not necessary?
2) They Believe A Previous Baptism Has Saved Them. Scores of folks have had water sprinkled or poured on them as babes. Yet others, not knowing what the purpose or result of baptism is, are baptized. Candidates for the “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5) must possess the ability to “believe” (Mk. 16:16), “repent” (Acts 2:38) and orally confess “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37). Days-old children have not the capability to do any of these and therefore are not subjects of Bible baptism. Others have been baptized, but did not understand the purpose of Great Commission baptism (Matt. 28:18-20). Such was the case in Acts 19. Paul happened upon about twelve men who had been baptized with “John’s baptism.” When they heard Paul teach on Christ Jesus, “they were baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 19:5). When one understands baptism is “for” the remission of sins and that the Lord will add them to the Church, or kingdom, he then is a candidate for Bible baptism (Acts 2:47; Acts 8:13).
3) They Believe They Cannot Live Perfectly After Baptism. No one has asked for perfection post-baptism. Jesus requires we live “faithful unto death” (Rev. 2:10). Christians can and do sin. At such a time, we “confess our sins” and they will be forgiven (I Jn. 1:9).
4) They Have Fears. Some have a fear of water, others fear being watched by large crowds. Whatever fear it may be, it can be and must be overcome. Concerned brethren will see to it you are well-cared for, and that the most important thing is your soul’s salvation (Matt. 16:26; Lk. 9:25)!