Summary: I am sure some have shared my experience of being saved for a number of years before experiencing the blessing of being scripturally immersed.
THE BLESSINGS OF BAPTISM
I Cor. 10:1-4 "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
Can you imagine the gratitude the people of Israel felt when they had passed through the waters of the Red Sea? They had been spared the awful judgment of God upon their families by the Passover Lamb, freed from the terrible slavery of Egypt, plucked from the grasp of Pharaoh's army by the mighty hand of God and placed safely on their way to the Promised Land. With Pharaoh's army behind, the mountains on either side, they were led and protected by the Spirit of God before and behind them as they went down into the waters of the Red Sea. They were immersed there with the waters on each side and the Spirit of God hovering over them. They then passed safely through to the other side and their enemies were destroyed before their very eyes! What a blessing!
I am sure some here shared my experience of being saved for a number of years before experiencing the blessing of being scripturally immersed. The inexpressible joy of simply obeying the command of Christ. The immeasurable satisfaction of merely following in His footsteps into the waters of baptism. The privilege and pleasure of imitating His example in obeying the Will of the Father and fulfilling all righteousness in His Name. I look back to that blessed day of a new beginning, a first step in my outward public walk in a new life in Christ, as the beginning of many great and glorious blessings that have been bestowed upon me in my walk with Him.
My personal testimony about the blessings of baptism begins when I was saved at the age of fifteen in an old-fashioned revival meeting in a sprinkling church. As might be expected, I was sprinkled in our rural church on the first Sunday following my conversion. After all, my family had been associated with that group as far back as our ancestry could be easily traced on my father's side. Although there were two sprinkling churches in our immediate rural community, there was no Baptist church of any sort close by. I do recall some of my teenage friends going to a nearby lake on Sunday afternoons to enjoy the fun and spectacle, as they viewed it, of some silly Baptist preacher immersing people.
Nearly twelve years after I had been saved God, through a number of unusual events and circumstances, that in retrospect I clearly recognize as God's gracious and providential guidance, He moved us to another state and placed me in an area with perhaps the greatest number of true Bible believing Baptist churches per capita of any location in the world. God then strategically and graciously caused me to become a work mate and friend of a member of one of these church. He, in turn, invited me to attend a Baptist church for the very first time in my life.
I was very intrigued and impressed by the simplicity of the approach these people took to the scriptures and by their claim that they strictly followed the New Testament as their only rule of faith and practice. Not too many weeks passed before I was privileged to personally witness my first immersion in Saline River. The setting was idyllic. A small rural river outside Benton, Arkansas, some 30 kilometres South of Little Rock. The Holy Spirit began to work in my heart about scriptural baptism. I resisted His overtures for sometime. The pastor of that small rural church was very patient with me. He and his flock showed great Christian love and acceptance toward me and my family. We felt we had found a spiritual home among these simple Bible-believing people of God.
Since I have always been an avid reader, I intently read a number of tracts and booklets and even two books the pastor shared with me about how to correctly study the Bible and the truth about the ordinances and the New Testament Church. Since I had been trained and was working in the disciplines of science and math, I tended to approach everything analytically and objectively. I can recall reading these materials and listening to the teaching and preaching in the church with the intent of finding any possible flaws and fallacies in the logic and teaching.
In so doing I effectively delayed the glorious blessings associated with baptism and fellowship in one of the Lord's churches for nearly a year. But I will never forget that wonderful day, when through the mercy and grace of God, at that same idyllic setting on the Saline river my wife and I were buried in a watery grave and raised to walk in a new life before all the world! I am sure those who have passed through the waters of scriptural baptism can also look back with me and thank and praise the Lord for His goodness and greatness.