Baptism. I want to get it done but I'm not sure if I should or not.
Keep in mind what the Bible says the purpose of baptism is. "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38) "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16) "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4) "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 3:20-21) According to these passages baptism is for the purpose of taking away sin, washing away sin, beginning a new life, and salvation. Without baptism these things are not possible. Without it one can not be saved or have their sins forgiven. So it is up to you. Do you want to continue in your old life and still have your previous sins held against you? Then don't be baptized. Do you want your sins forgiven and to start a new life in Christ? Then you must be baptized. It is as simple as that. God offers a free gift of salvation, but we must open the present.
The questioner followed up with the following:
I thought that if you ask for forgiveness then God shall forgive you if you mean it in your heart but I think wut you said was that you cant be forgiven unless you are baptized? But I have decided that I am so going to be baptized! I was also wondering what does God have to judge us if we ask for forgiveness?? And if we forgot to ask for forgiveness for something, will that bring us down to hell? I thought that the key to eternal life is accepting Jesus dying on the cross and having a personal relationship with the father and believing and following him? Well if you could answer those that would be so cool! Thanks again.
You have several good questions there.
By your comment and first question, I understand you to be asking why God just doesn't forgive everyone who asks for forgiveness. That is a tough question. The simple answer would be that God established his own requirements for forgiveness and expects us to live by them. The answer is a little more complex, though. From the beginning God has required a blood sacrifice for sin. After Adam and Eve sinned, an animal had to die, because God made them clothes from animal skins. Hebrews 9:22 points out, "without shedding of blood is no remission." One of God's requirements is that blood be shed for sin. Under the Jewish law it was the blood of animals. But Jesus became a better sacrifice, according to Hebrews 9 and 10, because he offered his own blood, that of a sinless man. And it was not for himself that he offered his blood, because he had no sin, but for all the sins of all men for all time. Because God requires a blood sacrifice for sin he will not forgive sin just because a person asks him to. That person must be asking based on being covered by the blood of Jesus. If we have not "died" with Jesus, we can not be forgiven through his blood. Paul said (Romans 6:1-11) that it is when we are baptized we begin the new life, in essence covered by the blood of Jesus.
You say that the key to eternal life is accepting Jesus dying on the cross and having a personal relationship with the Father and believing and following him. I agree. But there is more to accepting Jesus dying on the cross and having a personal relationship with the Father than mere saying so. There are certain things God has said in his word, the Bible, that he requires us to do to regain that personal relationship. Among those things are the "works" of faith, repentance, baptism, and good works. Even the devils accept that Jesus died on the cross, but they tremble in fear because of it (James 2:19).
You also ask whether forgetting to ask for forgiveness for something will bring us down to hell. Actually, it is not a question of what will cause us to go to hell; that is our destination anyway, without Christ. Instead it is a question of whether an individual sin, unrepented of, will take us out of Christ. In 1 John 1:7, John says, "But if we walk in the light, as he [God] is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son continues to cleanse us from all sin." Once we are walking with God then Jesus' blood continues to work to cleanse us from sin. However, if we become aware of a sin and don't repent of it then we are no longer walking in light but in darkness. Note that this is talking about "walking", a continuous action, not "taking a step", a one time action. We all sin, but if we live in a way that we are constantly trying to do right then God appears to take that into account. But "shall we continue in sin" (Romans 6:1) so that God's grace may be even greater? Paul says, "May it never be!" If we continue willfully sinning, knowing it to be sin, then we leave the light of Christ and return to the darkness. So it is not a single sin that will send us to hell after putting on Christ by baptism (Galatians 3:27), but returning to a lifestyle of sin.
Again, thank you for your questions. You seem eager to learn the truth about God's word. Keep studying for yourself and asking questions of others. In that way the Holy Spirit will lead you to the truth.