Most people believe that we are fundamentally good. It is generally thought that with the correct upbringing and the right opportunities we all could all realise our potential and become good, decent people.
Thinking like this underpins many of our laws and social relationships. This philosophy has been embraced by modern ‘Christian’ teaching, which encourages people to attempt to live better lives.
Sin and death
However, the Bible teaches us that we are not all good: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” It recognises that we like to consider ourselves as good people: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
The Bible teaches that all have sinned. That is, they have fallen short of the standard set by God. The punishment for sin is death. So we all die because we have all sinned.
The Gospel message
It’s not all bad news, however. The Bible also includes the gospel message (or ‘good news’) as taught by Jesus Christ in his ministry. Key to this message is the promise of the kingdom of God.
The Bible teaches that those who believe God and are baptised have the promise of eternal life in God’s kingdom. Their sins are washed away and they are counted as righteous.
Baptism as described in the Bible is a full immersion in water. In symbol, the believer dies and is raised to life again. The alternative tradition of sprinkling water has been introduced as a convenience and has no basis in Bible teaching.
The Bible teaches that baptism should be the “answer of a good conscience” and baptisms described in the Bible are of adults only. So Christadelphians do not baptise babies because they cannot have an understanding of the purpose of God.
Baptism is essential for those who wish to serve God and is the first step of a believer’s new life dedicated to following the example of Jesus Christ.