|Volume 24 Number 9 September 2022
There are many professed Christians who do not believe baptism is necessary for salvation. Many commentators even say it is not a mandatory thing to do. The conversion of Cornelius needs to be considered in such a discussion. Cornelius was a centurion of the Roman army. He lived in Caesarea.
Cornelius believed in God and evidently did everything he could to obey God. Cornelius had been praying to God, begging God for instructions. In Acts 10:6, an angel from God told Cornelius to send for Peter, who would tell him “what you must do” (NKJV). That means there were some things Cornelius had to do. Acts 11:14 adds to what the angel said. There it is recorded that Cornelius would be told words by which he and his house “will be saved.” So whatever Cornelius had to do was what would save him.
When Peter met with Cornelius, he started preaching to him and his house. While Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit came on Cornelius and others present there. They started speaking in tongues just like the apostles did on the Day of Pentecost. Notice that this was not something Peter told them to do. Neither did God giving them this ability saved them.
The Jewish Christians were amazed when Cornelius was given that ability. Peter asked the Jewish Christians if they could deny baptism to Cornelius and the others since obviously God provided that as a sign. No one responded negatively. So, Peter “commanded” Cornelius and those with him to be baptized (Acts 10:48). Notice that this is something Peter told them to do. Notice that he “commanded” it. That means it is absolutely necessary.
Study your Bible. Learn what is commanded. Obey those commands. Don’t let anyone tell you it is not necessary to obey God’s commands. If any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.
You Never Mentioned Him
When I think back on my life, I have a lot of great memories with so many people. I have been blessed with a wonderful family, and I have been surrounded my entire life by more friends than I can count. With each one of these people, I could probably tell you numerous stories of all the great times we had, the things we did and the wonderful memories we shared. However, I could also tell you several stories that were not so great. I could tell you stories of disagreements, pain and loss. I could tell you stories of people doing what people do sometimes. We sin and we fall short; sometimes we let each other down. The saddest stories for me involve the things that I did or sometimes failed to do – times that I failed to do the right thing and times I definitely did the wrong thing. Of all the things I did or didn’t do, the one thing that haunts me more than all the rest is all of the people who have come in and out of my life who I never told about Jesus.
As Christians, our lives have been transformed by Jesus and the good news of the Gospel. Why would we not want to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ? Are we ashamed? In Romans 1:16, we see that Paul was clearly not ashamed of the Gospel, for he boldly said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (NKJV). Salvation through Christ was something that Paul knew he personally needed, but it was also something that he knew the rest of the world needed, too. Paul preached from a place of love, care and compassion for lost souls, but he also preached and taught because we as Christians are to be working for the Lord. We are to go and teach (Matthew 28:19-20). We are to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:1-5). We are to continue confessing Christ day in and day out before mankind (Matthew 10:32-33). We are to use our time, talents, opportunities and resources for the glory of God and for His work (Matthew 25:14-30).
We are not promised tomorrow (James 4:14). Some of the individuals who have come in and out of our lives are possibly already dead and gone, and we will never get another opportunity to tell them about Jesus. Yet, what are we willing to do for those who are still alive? What changes are we willing and ready to make in our lives to be more pleasing to our God? On Judgment Day, we do not want anyone to wonder why we never mentioned Jesus to him or her. We also do not want to miss Heaven ourselves for failing to work for Jesus and teach His Word. Let us all strive daily to continue to confess Christ before men by the words that we say and by the way that we live our lives (Matthew 10:32-33). Let us continue daily telling the whole world about the good news of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16).