Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. Hebrews 6:1-3
It is hard to cast aside our traditions. This was especially true for the early Jewish converts to Christianity. Had they kept these traditions to their selves it would have not have been as bad but they were insisting that these traditions be accepted and practiced by all Christians especially the Gentile Christians. One such tradition was the Jewish ritual bath or mikveh. The mikveh was required to enter the temple, after someone had become ritually unclean and for women after their menstrual period and after childbirth. Similar to the Christian baptism the person would be totally submersed in the water usually by walking down a set of steps into the bath and then ascending a set of stairs on the other side of the bath.
Unlike baptism the mikveh was repeated over and over. For women of childbearing age that would be monthly. So what is the harm of a ritual bath? After all some Christians get baptized more than once. Unlike baptism which is a profession of one’s faith and letting the world know a person has dedicated their life to Christ the mikveh was done to wash away one’s sins, to make one pure enough to appear before God and make a sacrifice for one’s sins.
These types of rituals and traditions fly in the face of what Jesus did in the cross. We can neither add to nor subtract from His finished work. When we put conditions on salvation we are trying to have a “Jesus and” religion, Jesus and baptism or Jesus and works or Jesus and the mikveh. There is one and only one salvation, the one Jesus gave us. There are no degrees of salvation. We are either saved or we are not. Speaking in tongues will not make us any more saved than not speaking in tongues. Going to a particular church or any church will not make us any more saved that not going. Nothing we do will add anything to our salvation.
When I think of what needs to be done to achieve salvation I look at the thief on the cross. All he did was recognize Jesus as the Son of God and ask to be remembered. Jesus then told him that he would be with Jesus in Paradise. He did not good works, he was a thief. There was not baptism, the thief was neither sprinkled nor immersed. He practiced no ritual or traditions while on the cross. No, all he did was accept Jesus. That is all any of us need to do.
We should be baptized not because baptism will save us but because Jesus told us to. We should do good works not for salvation but because we are told to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Traditions and rituals are fine as long as they do not get in the way of our or anyone else’s salvation.
God put one condition on our salvation that we accept His free gift and the price Jesus paid. Why would we want to add to that?
Have a blessed day,