If you’ve given your life to God, do you NEED to be baptized?
To consecrate one’s life to the Lord means that one has made a covenant of sacrifice of self-will in order to do the will of God and, if faithful to that covenant, attain a heavenly reward as part of the “very elect,” (the 144,000) or the Great Company. (Note that both groups, the very elect or Bride of Christ and the Great Company are parts of the heavenly class.) Baptism (total water immersion) is an outward manifestation of the figurative death of the old nature and the begettal by the holy spirit of a new nature. Baptism signifies that this life decision has already been made to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in order to be part of the heavenly class. Although one is encouraged to publicly show that desire of his heart by baptism, the act of baptism itself is not necessary for consecration.
We believe that there is only one baptism during this Gospel Age and that is to be part of the heavenly class, whether we earn the right to be part of the very elect group or we fall short due to lack of zeal in sacrificing and become part of the Great Company. We do not believe that we make a consecration to be part of an earthly class. When Jesus fulfilled his mission, which was to die, he redeemed everyone who ever lived in the past and everyone who was yet to live. 1 Timothy 2:3-6 says, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in its proper time.” And again in
1 Timothy 4:10, “… that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”
These scriptures indicate that all men will be saved, but that there is a special class (a heavenly class) who are to be favored first. These are the ones who have made a consecration to do the will of the Lord now and they have symbolized that consecration in baptism.
We believe that a consecration can be valid without baptism providing one understands what consecration entails. As we explained above, we cannot consecrate to be part of the Great Company in heaven, since there is only one call during the Gospel Age and that is to be part of the Bride of Christ, or the 144,000.
The Great Company is a heavenly mercy class for those who loved the Lord, made a consecration to be part of his Bride, but fell short due to lack of zeal in their sacrificing. We also cannot consecrate to be part of an earthly class since Jesus died for everyone, even the vilest offender. When you have made a covenant of sacrifice (the denial of self-will and earthly fulfillment in order to be part of the heavenly class), then that consecration is valid whether you have been baptized or not.
For more on baptism listen to, “Should Everyone Be Baptized?”
For more on the Great Company listen to, “What Will We Be Doing When We Get to Heaven? (Part III)”