Help me to clarify some questions on the soul’s salvation. When is a man born again and receives salvation, forgiveness of sins, and the Holy Spirit? At repentance or at baptism? How much time should pass from the day of repentance until the day of baptism? May there be a situation where 10 years have passed after repentance and throughout this period one has attended church and has been considered a good Christian without receiving baptism?
Of how the question was addressed I am glad to see that the author understands that being born again and receiving the Holy Spirit occur when receiving forgiveness for sins and salvation. Now, the central part of the question is when do all these happen? On the day of repentance or baptism?
One is born again and receives the Holy Spirit when he believes wholeheartedly in the Lord Jesus Christ, when he asks forgiveness for sins he has committed and enters the New Covenant by a decision of the heart.
The Bible has several cases when those who repented, or entered into the covenant with the Saviour, were baptized the same day or night. Thus, the same day were baptized those who have repented at Pentecost, the Ethiopian eunuch, jailer of Philippi and his family who believed (they were baptized the same night).
All together, the Bible presents situations when the apostles hadn’t rushed to baptize until they were convinced that people understood the significance of baptism. When he learned about the problems in the church of Corinth, Apostle Paul wrote:
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one would say you were baptized in my name. Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (1 Corinthians 1:10-17)(NASB)
The text shows that Paul was in no hurry to baptize people until he was convinced that they understood the essence of the Gospel and received it in the heart. Unfortunately, later, different denominations have ceased to follow the Scriptures and sought to baptize as many people without verifying whether those who were baptized understood and lived the Gospel message.
I invite you to read the article “How long shall a new repented person wait until he can be baptized?” where I wrote about those who consider themselves Christians but do not want to be baptized.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru