Does Baptism Save You? A Biblical Analysis

by Jack Wellman on September 8, 2011 · Print Print · Email Email

What is the purpose of baptism?  What does baptism symbolize?  Does baptism save you?

What Is The Purpose of Baptism? 

Shortly after I was saved I was baptized.  I was baptized with the understanding of making a public testimonial of my profession of faith in Jesus Christ.  The key was that I was saved before I was baptized.  Baptism serves a purpose in the church and for Christians.  We are told to be baptized after we are saved by placing our faith in Christ.

If I were to put it in my own words I would say that it is an outward expression of an inward profession of our faith in Jesus to save.  When we are submerged into the water it symbolizes our death, when we are under the water it pictures our burial, and after we come up out of the water this symbolizes our new life; being resurrected in Christ to eternal life.  The ordinance of baptism did not save me, the water did not save me, the symbols did not save me; it was when I placed my faith in Jesus Christ that saved me.

Baptism does not make you a believer but it shows you that you are a believer.  It does not save a believer; it shows the believer has been saved.  It is often done in the presence of family members, in front of the church a person is or has joined, and reflects an inward expression of an outward faith.

Many of the Old Testament patriarchs and matriarchs were never baptized yet we know that they will be in the kingdom of heaven.  Men and women like Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Deborah, Aaron, David, Elijah, and so many others.  Even the thief on the cross was saved by his profession of belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and there was no chance of his coming down from the cross to be baptized.  The point is that a person can be saved even outside of a church home although this is no reason not to be part of the Body of Christ (the church) as the author of Hebrews says in chapter 10:25, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

What Does Baptism Symbolize? 

Baptism is a clear, public symbolic picture of the new life that we have in Christ.  We are not sinless of course after we are saved but we have died to sin and die to ourselves and have been raised with Him to new life.  This is precisely what Paul says in Romans 6:1-4, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Baptism is also symbolic of our identity with one another in the church.  We are united with other brothers and sister who are already in the faith-family of God thus we are identified with Christ and with the Body of Christ, the church.  The Greek word used for baptism (baptisma) is a noun and literally means “to submerge” or to be completely submerged which differs from being sprinkled.  When Jesus was baptized it was said that “when He had came up out of the water” which explains why John was called “John the Baptist“.  It was not referring to his denomination but to his method and if baptizing completely under the water was wrong, Jesus could have corrected John but He did not.

Does Baptism Save You?

First of all let us find out what the Bible says about what saves a sinner.  A personal opinion or idea will not do here.  We must fully trust in what the Word of God says because it is without error.  Humans are fully capable of making mistakes so when we find out what saves from the Bible itself, it is God speaking to us and we know it is right.  So what does the Bible actually say about what saves a sinner?  Let God speak to us from His inerrant Word.

The jailer asks the question that we are asking here in Acts 16:30-31:

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Acts 4:12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Romans 10:9 -13 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Ephesians 1:13-14In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

Acts 13:38-39Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the Law of Moses.”

John 3:16-17For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Not one of these Scriptures has adjacent verses that talk anything about adding to the saving work of believing in Jesus.  No mention is made of baptism in these verses and nothing is said like “but you must also be baptized”.  It is not believing plus baptism, believing plus church membership, believing plus (fill in the blank).  No, it is when you believe in Jesus Christ that saves you.  Anything that adds to this belief is works and to suggest that being baptized is necessary to being saved is tantamount to saying that Jesus perfect life, sacrifice, death, and resurrection was not enough:  I must add baptism to it to complete the saving work of Christ.

I have had the amazing experience of leading our church elder’s father-in-law to Christ on his death bed.  This gentleman had heard the gospel and knew about Christ but had never expressed his belief in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross.  He was so weak that he could not get out of bed.  He was extremely near death.  When I shared the message of the gospel with this man in his “death bed” he finally expressed his belief in Jesus Christ and placed his trust in Him.  I asked him if he believed that Jesus was born of a virgin, if he lived a sinless life, if he died on Calvary for our sins, if we was raised again in the resurrection….and this man say “Yes!  I do believe”.  He had tears in his eyes because I think he knew we was going to die soon.  I believe with all my heart that this man came to saving faith while lying in his bed.  He had no chance of ever being baptized.  He could not even muster enough strength to get up out of bed to be baptized or join a church.  He could not add one work to his faith except his belief in Christ.  Less than two days later this man did die.  No one can tell me that I will not see him in the kingdom of heaven or that since he was not baptized he was not saved.

The “death bed” conversion of that dying man was one of the most awesome experiences of my entire life.  I cried like a baby.  So did the church’s elder and his wife which was the man’s daughter.  I have done similar things to others in nursing homes or assisted living care centers where people were near death or in their last days.  They could not take the stress or strain of getting into or out of a tank, tub, or pool to be baptized, yet they still believed in Jesus Christ and placed their trust and faith in Him as their Savior.

Let me say that the word “believe” means to fully trust in, to completely rely upon, to absolutely lean on, and place all a persons faith in.  When they say they believe in Jesus it means that they believe that He was born of a virgin, that He lived a perfect life, that He gave His life on Calvary as a ransom for us, that He died and was resurrected on the third day, and that He will come again for us.  If any of these things are not believed, then there is no true faith.  To believe in Jesus Christ also means that we obey Him.  As the old church hymn says, we “trust and obey, for there is no other way.”  Even the devil and his demons believe but the do not obey nor do they place their trust in Him.

Was this Article Helpful?

If this article was helpful to you, please consider linking this article to your own blog or sharing this through the social buttons to the left. You might also find some of these other good Christian Answer articles helpful:

What is Speaking in Tongues?

What Are the Gifts of the Spirit?

Do Animals or Pets Go To Heaven?

Sources

The Holy Bible, New International Version

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam September 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Oh Jack what a great article on yet another controversial subject in Christian circles. Your “death bed” testimony reminded me of my own Daddy, who believed in what Jesus did for him on his “death bed”. It was my husband who had a heart-to-heart talk with Daddy. We had shared the good news so many other times but Daddy’s heart was hard. On the day that he believed we rejoiced and I am sure the Angels were singing. What followed in the days after Daddy went home to be with the Lord was amazing. We heard 6 professions of faith in Jesus from other family members.

So true, baptism does not save, for if it did we would not need our Savior, Jesus.

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Jack September 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Thanks so much Pam. I can not see that anything more need be required of Jesus’ powerful, redemptive work. My own mother, late in her life, was in such a position too. It is belief on Jesus’ completed work at Calvary that saves. To think that your dear father came to Christ at such a time is worth rejoicing over and the comfort of knowing that you will SURELY see him again. God bless you friend.

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Clarissa September 26, 2011 at 10:45 am

In Acts 2:37, it says they were ‘pricked in their hearts’ meaning they obviously believed in Jesus but they then asked Peter ‘what shall we do?’ He replied in Acts 2:38 saying they should ‘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’. This scripture clearly tells us that baptism is necessary for salvation. Repentance forgives us of our sins but only baptism removes our sins.

Baptism expresses faith in God by obedience to His Word. And as you stated “To believe in Jesus Christ also means that we obey Him.” The Word tells us we are to be baptized.

The biblical significance of water baptism is as follows: (1) God remits sins at water baptism (Acts 2:38, 22:16). (2) Baptism is part of the new birth (John 3:5; Titus 3:5). (3) Baptism identifies a person with Jesus’ burial (Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12). (4) Water baptism is part of the one baptism of water and Spirit that places believers into Christ (Romans 6:3-4, Gal 3:27). And (5) Baptism is part of spiritual circumcision (Col. 2:11-13).

And as for “men and women like Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Deborah, Aaron, David, Elijah, and so many others. Even the thief on the cross”, those saved in the Gospels were saved under the Old Covenant while they awaited the New. The New Covenant did not come into effect until after Christ’s ascension (Luke 7:28; 24:47-49; John 7:39; 16:7; Acts 1:4-8; Hebrews 9:14-17).

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chere July 13, 2012 at 4:17 am

Hi Clarissa,

My hubby and I see Baptism exactly the way you do,
I came upon your letter to Jack when I was looking for information, and now going to use the way you have explained Baptism to a young man also named Jack who sees
Baptism the same the Jack you wrote to.
Thank you for your letter on internet.

Regards
Chere Amdor

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Jack Wellman July 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Thank you so much Chere. This brings joy to my heart. I know of so many deathbed conversions and I had one too where the person was too weak to be lifted up into a water tank to be baptized and certainly the thief on the cross couldn’t come down off the cross to get baptized. I truly thank God for your comment because I get a lot of grief and most of them are from other believers who think you’re not saved until your baptized but that is not true (Acts 4:12, 16:30-31, Rom 10:9-13).

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Jack September 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Then Jesus death was not enough. We must add to it like with baptism/ What of the man who had a “death bed” conversion and was in no condition to be baptized in such a state of physical deterioration that he could not even be lifted up out of his bed due to the risk of fracture of his vertebrae? That dying man’s conversion was not enough then to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved? (Acts 4:14, Rom 10:9, Acts 16:30-31). We could not baptize him yet he came to saving faith just before he died so he is headed to hell? How can another woman in a nursing home who accepted Christ also on her death bed not be saved after professing saving faith in Christ? She too is headed to hell? There are also scores of people who in car wrecks who professed faith in Christ. Once with a pastor who included it in his lifetime experiences and came to the scene after the accident. Remember that these three people who were dying and not able to be baptized professed with their tongue faith in Christ. The two elderly people understood the plan of salvation as I explained it clearly to them. And this was clearly in the New Covenant…this was just last summer! This was one of the most awesome experiences of my entire life and yet you say because they were not baptized they are not saved and headed to hell for eternity. I disagree.

The New Covenant was clearly established by Christ but it was actually BEFORE the cross if you believe Jesus: “And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples…. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:18-28 ). He repeats this phrase THREE TIMES “this is the new covenant” during the Passover.

27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the new covenant, which IS (is meaning it already is in effect) poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. He did not say, this “will be” the new covenant but “is”.

What would you say to those two death bed conversions of those two who had clearly believed in Jesus Christ before they died? Are the headed for hell then? What do you say about them?

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Clarissa September 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Jesus’ death was for all humankind, the very act of His sacfrafice does not automatically apply His atonning blood to all of humanity. With this argument, why do we even have to believe? Is that not “adding” to His sacrafice? That stance does not hold water. Assuming you agree that baptism washes away sins, I will make a point. Jesus Himself was baptized. Not that He needed to be, He was perfect and without sin. However, He did this to offer an example. Not only does the Bible clearly command us to be baptized, but Jesus also showed us.
I agree that salvation is by grace through faith and not by human works (Ephesians 2:8-9). The doctrine of grace means that salvation is a free gift from God, which humans cannot earn; in other words, salvation is God’s work in us. The atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ have made this gift available.The doctrine of faith means that we receive God’s saving work by trusting in Jesus Christ. However, faith is more than intellectual acceptance, or verbal profession; it includes trust, reliance, appropriation, and application. Faith is alive only through response and action; we cannot separate faith from obedience. (Matthew 7:21-27; Romans 1:5; 6:17; 10:16; 16:26; II Thessalonians 1:7-10.) Saving faith, then, is (1) acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the means of salvation and (2) obedience to that gospel (application or appropriation of that gospel).

As Acts 2:38 shows, we respond to the gospel, obey the gospel, or apply the gospel to our lives by repentance from sin (death to sin), water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ (burial with Christ), and receiving the Holy Spirit (new life in Christ). (Romans 6:1-7; 7:6; 8:2, 10.)

This response is the biblical expression of saving faith in Jesus Christ. (Mark 1:15; 16:16; John 7:37-39; Acts 11:15-17.) This threefold experience, viewed as an integrated whole, brings regeneration, justification, and initial sanctification. (I Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5.) Baptism of water and Spirit is the birth of water and Spirit, the born-again experience of which Jesus spoke in John 3:3-5. The three steps are NOT human works that earn salvation but divine works of salvation in human lives.

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the New Covenant did not come into effect until after Christ’s ascension (Luke 7:28; 24:47-49; John 7:39; 16:7; Acts 1:4-8; Hebrews 9:14-17). Besides with your counter attack, do I understand you to only believe that I am wrong about the thief on the cross? All the other people you mentioned lived and died before the Last Supper.

And as for arsenal against me, this is what the Bible has to say about the two death bed conversions you mentioned: John 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. And lastly, Romans 3:3-4 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
I don’t quote these scriptures out of malice or triumph but out of grief.
God Bless

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Jack September 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Clarissa, I am not attacking you. I am sorry you feel that way. Then you are condemning these two people who believed in Christ before they died?

I did not find your answer this question:

“What of the man who had a “death bed” conversion and was in no condition to be baptized in such a state of physical deterioration that he could not even be lifted up out of his bed due to the risk of fracture of his vertebrae? That dying man’s conversion was not enough then to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved? (Acts 4:14, Rom 10:9, Acts 16:30-31). We could not baptize him yet he came to saving faith just before he died so he is headed to hell? How can another woman in a nursing home who accepted Christ also on her death bed not be saved after professing saving faith in Christ? She too is headed to hell?”

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Barry October 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

My 15 year old daughter is Catholic and was baptized as an infant. She was told last night that she and her entire family who are Catholic are going to hell, because they were baptized as infants. She is obviously very upset. What do I tell her?

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Jack October 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Barry, I want to thank you for such an important comment as this. I believe that only God alone knows a person’s eternal destination. No man can know with certainty. John 3:17 says that even Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world. They have no business nor authority for making such a false statement and accusation. I hope the Holy Spirit convicts them of this falsehood. As a pastor of a non-denominational, evangelical church, I get many such statements made to me about others including Catholics. I wrote an article that might interest them called Are Catholics Saved? Please read this: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/are-catholics-saved-and-are-they-christians/

Further, what audacity to make such a statement to anyone and judging them and convicting them guilty and worthy of hell. That is totally unbiblical Barry. Please let her also read this article too. No one is saved by Baptism. I have known many Christians who believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, that He was born of a Virgin (Mary), and that He lived a perfect live, without sin, and that He was crucified for us and was raised again. If your daughter and her family (meaning your family and you too) believe this, then that is what is called saving faith. It is trusting Jesus for what He said and believing in Him for all He did.

This is testified many times in Scripture, like Romans 9:10-11, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” There is no mention of baptism or losing salvation with infant baptism, or anything else that saves but by faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ Jesus alone. I hope this helps. Tell your daughter she has nothing to worry about and those who are judgmental will give an account to God someday for their false condemnation. Jesus will not lose one out of His hand or His Father’s hand and will never, ever caste anyone away for not being baptized or because they were baptized as an infant (John 6:37 & 10:28-29). Baptism does not save. Jesus saves! Jesus once for all supreme sacrifice is sufficient for her, and for your family too my friend. May God comfort her and your family with these biblical facts of truth – not my opinion, but God Almighty’s.

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Barry October 6, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Jack,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative response. You put my heart and mind at ease over this issue. I read the article you referenced before I posted my question and it also helped me a lot. I spoke to my daughter earlier today (she stayed home from school, because she was so upset) and told her many of the things you mentioned in your reply to my question.

I am a baptized believer, grew up and attend an independent Christian church. I’ve asked God to present an opportunity to me to talk to my daughter about her faith, salvation and baptism. That prayer was answered last night as we drove home from her youth group. I also attend and assist with the Wednesday night youth group. I did not hear the youth minister’s comment (he’s an intern who attends a local Bible college). The comment was made during the break out session after his devotion about salvation. My daughter is in his small group.

I could tell she was upset afterward and she opened up and told me what was said in her small group. That was my opportunity to talk to her about her faith and that salvation comes through Jesus Christ.

Her mother (my ex-wife) is Catholic, as is her whole family. My daughter was raised Catholic and I was supportive of that believing that it was important for her to attend a church and receive a religious education.

My current wife and step-daughter are Catholic, so the comment last night really upset me, too. That’s when I got online this morning looking for answers. I found them here on your site, and on others, too.

Thank you again and I plan on speaking to our minister about this situation. Please pray for me, my family and for the youth minister so that he will send the proper, Biblical message these young people need to hear.

May God continue to bless you and your work for His kingdom.

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Jack October 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Amen to your request for prayer Barry over this important issue. Perhaps the fact that this man is “young” or new in the faith or at least new in the ministry and has not yet completed his BA explains it all to me. Perhaps this is why Paul tells Timothy that pastors should not be recent or new converts. You showed great patience and wisdom in your response. Many Christian men might not have responded so kindly as you, which to me reflects that Christ is living in you. I think that even bad things that happen work out for the good. This young intern may learn an important lesson that he can carry with him throughout his life and your going to the minister (Senior Minister I presume) will do wonders for both the youth ministry and this young man’s future work with believers. God bless you and your entire family. Bank on our prayers friend.

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Barry October 6, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Thank you, Jack. Yes, your presumption is correct, I plan to speak to our Senior Minister.

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Jordan February 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Christ alone is the one who saves you. We don’t even get to “believe,” because it’s a gift; it’s his believing, not ours, which saves us.
Baptism is not necessary. If you are baptized, however, of course you will be saved: if you agree that you died with Christ, were buried with him, and resurrected with him, you will be saved, and that is what baptism. It’s not merely an act of immersion in water, but also the agreement in one’s heart that comes with it. That’s just the “Hebrew mindset” that much of the Bible was written in.
Also, in Acts 2:38, Peter was not making a speech to every Christian everywhere. He was talking only to those present at Jerusalem at that time, who were gathered to see what was going on with the apostles. So Peter prophecies to them: “you guys are gonna recieve Holy Spirit, just like us, after you are baptized.” Yes, all scripture is the inspired word of God. Someone was inspired to record the acts of the early church, including this “speech,” so that we may see examples of the function of the church and how God works through us. Not so we can assume that Peter was making that speech to us, today.
Also, in Acts 2:38, the word “for” is “eis” in the Greek. It can mean “for” but can also mean “into.” From what I can tell, this is the more common usage of “eis.” It’s possible that Peter was saying “Repent and be baptized ‘into’ the forgiveness of your sins.” This would imply initiation into the experience of forgiveness, which would make more sense, considering that we are told in Hebrews 10:12, 8:12, Col. 2:13, 1 John 2:12, even 1 John 1:9 (just look at the verb tenses in the Greek for that verse), etc that we have already been forgiven.

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Jack February 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Jordan, this is such an intelligent and insightful comment you have made and I am most happy that you did. You have clarified this and but going back to the Greek, it brings out the real intent of the author and the understanding is made clearer. Please come back and grace us with your comments elsewhere too. I agree that even belief is a gift and that no one can come to Christ unless the Father is drawing them and it is a gift and God grants repentance too. Well said in all.

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yanira A. April 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

We are saved by( Read Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Acts 2:38 )Been BAPTIZED AS Jesus did(as an example, he had no sin)

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Jack April 13, 2012 at 5:44 pm

That dying man’s conversion was not enough then to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved? (Acts 4:14, Rom 10:9, Acts 16:30-31). We could not baptize him yet he came to saving faith just before he died so he is headed to hell? How can another woman in a nursing home who accepted Christ also on her death bed not be saved after professing saving faith in Christ? She too is headed to hell? There are also scores of people who in car wrecks who professed faith in Christ. Once with a pastor who included it in his lifetime experiences and came to the scene after the accident. Remember that these three people who were dying and not able to be baptized professed with their tongue faith in Christ. The thief on the cross too I suppose, since he was not baptized is lost….and Abraham, David….and others. Your theology is flawed and is like Christ + baptism = eternal life but in effect you are saying Christ + works (like baptism) = eternal life when that formula is zero.

Where does this passage (Mark 16:15,16) and the others you mentioned place salvation in relation to baptism?

Does salvation come before baptism or as a result of it? We can no more be saved before baptism than we can before believing.

It is like 1 + 1 = 2. Take away either of the “1′s” and you no longer have two. Likewise if you take away either faith or baptism, you no longer have salvation. Read the Scripture. It actually says you will be condemned if you don’t believe, but it doesn’t say you will be condemned if you are not baptized.

The Bible does not always spell out what we have to do to be lost. It tells us what we have to do to be saved and expects us to realize that, if we don’t do it, we will be lost.

It says we must do two things to be saved. To be lost, you only need to omit one of them. If you don’t have faith, you probably would not be baptized, and if you did it would not do any good. To be lost is easy – just don’t believe. To be saved is harder – you must both believe and be baptized.

Further, the person who has a true faith will believe that baptism is necessary. Jesus said to believe the gospel (v15,16). What does the gospel say? “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” What if I don’t believe that? Then I don’t believe the gospel! What does the passage say about people who don’t believe the gospel? There are a lot of people who have been baptized but are clearly not saved (by the lack of fruits, by which Christ said we would know them).

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Pastor Terry David May 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Far to many on this blog are looking at one scripture to set in stone their belief. The New Testament has to be taken as a whole. There are places that say “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved”(Acts 16 31) there is an other scripture where Christ tells a woman to go and sin no more. never saying anything about baptism.(John 8) And Act has many places that say “Believe and be Baptized”
So should we get baptized (of course if at all possible, but there are times that Gods grace has to be sufficient. I experienced the same thing with an elderly man I brought to Christ. He couldn’t make it to church to get baptized. I don’t believe that God’s looking for a technical reason to keep people out of Heaven. The Church traditionally has held to the description of baptism as “An outward act of an inward feeling”
In other words it’s like showing the world what God has done for you on the inside.
God doesn’t give us scripture to beat each other over the head with. It’s to reprove each and everyone of us. The longer I live with God the more humble I get, the less judgemental I become. The more I understand the scripture where it say that our righteousness is as filthy rags.
I would also remind Clarrisa that every human is born of water in their mothers womb.

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Jack Wellman May 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm

From one pastor to another….amen my friend. I agree that we often use the Word of God as a sword against each other instead of what it is intended for. I so agree with your comments my friend and wish that others would stop trying to add baptism as an added condition upon the way that we might be saved. To me, to add baptism as a necessary work to our salvation is to say to Christ, “Sorry Jesus, your atoning work on the cross was not quite enough…I have to be baptized to finish it” even though on the cross He said, “It IS finished” meaning, in the Greek “Paid in full!” Thanks pastor for your common sense approach to a subject which tends to divide.

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Aurelio Preza July 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm

In Acts 2:38 does it not say that our sins are foregiven and we receive the Holy spirit upon baptism.

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Jack Wellman July 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Which comes first…regeneration or baptism? We receive the Holy Spirit and we are saved and then we get baptized. Are you saying that unless we are baptized, we are not fully saved. The thief of the cross missed out on water baptism but only had repentance. Acts 4:12, 16:30-31, & dozens of others mention that we are saved by Christ alone. I would add that once we repent we need to be baptized but not because baptism saves. Is Jesus’ work not enough but we must add baptism to complete the atonement?

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Steven July 26, 2012 at 6:56 am

Okay, this is silly. Of course you do not need to be baptized to be saved. I understand why you wrote this article Jack Wellman. And I would love to see someone show one instance that Jesus baptized someone (His baptism does not count) and show one instance where He said anything other than “Your faith has saved you” in the Gospels (In regards to salvation.).

The truth is, if baptism was important as some Christians and Catholics want to claim it is, then there would be Scriptural evidence to support it. Evidence that did not require twisted logic and verses taken out of context.

So by claiming that baptism is required for salvation, you blaspheme against all three members of the Trinity. Because all three are involved in your salvation. Furthermore, you also attack my salvation, and I find it offensive.

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Jack Wellman July 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Thank you Steven for your comment. I so agree with you on your points here and this article seems to say what you have stated and so thank you sir.

May I ask you sir, to whom are you speaking when you said:

So by claiming that baptism is required for salvation, you blaspheme against all three members of the Trinity. Because all three are involved in your salvation. Furthermore, you also attack my salvation, and I find it offensive.”

Was this directed at me, at one of the people commenting or who in particular sir?

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Steven July 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Jack,
I directed that post to anyone and everyone who tries to apply legalistic ideals to the free gift of salvation. Did the Pharisees not blaspheme despite following the law and adding law upon law? Which brings me to the law itself.

The law exists to teach us that we are far from God and we need HIM to save us. When it is said that Jesus fulfilled the law, it means that the law has been satisfied by His perfect life. It is that fulfillment and that sinless perfection that allowed Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice. Only the infinite Son of God could bear the infinite punishment for all sin, past, present, and future, the infinite judgment from The Holy Father.
Baptism itself is for the flesh. Jesus was baptized in part for fulfillment of the law. When we put our trust and faith into Jesus, we become sealed with the Holy Spirit. Our souls become purified and we begin our walk in the Spirit. What God the Father wants for us, and what Jesus, Immanuel, demonstrated, is something for the flesh to experience as well. As you know, from the moment we are saved and go from death to life, we become engulfed in a spiritual battle. It becomes a far between the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh does not experience the seal of the Holy Spirit. I am rambling here, but you probably get the idea.
I also want to point out if baptism is a requirement for salvation, why stop there? Why not add circumcision and delete the part in The Book of Acts where Paul rebukes Peter? Why not bring back the law? Then we can all boast about it!

I just get sick of bickering over stuff in the Bible that is written in blood. I suggest anyone who disagrees with me to read The Gospel of John, Chapter 8. The whole chapter.

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Steven July 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm

War, it becomes a war. Sorry

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Jack Wellman July 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Amen and amen Steven. I totally agree. I get a lot of heat as you can read. I believe baptism is an outward symbol of an inward conversion yet the conversion comes first. So true, do we stop at the baptism being a requirement. Why not circumcision…and so on. Great points. What saddens me Steven is that we try to add to the work of Calvary by adding rituals or sacraments when Jesus said, “It is finished” meaning in the Greek “paid in full.” Sadly, I get more persecution…not from atheists, agnostics, evolutionists or unbelievers…but from other Christians. It breaks my heart. I appreciate your words and you are so right sir…we bicker over stuff instead of agreeing on the essentials. John 8 is an excellent chapter for this issue, I agree. Thank you sir for contributing a reasonable and logical address to this unnecessarily divisive topic over which we vent anger over and break what we see is part of the Greatest Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps reading 1 John 3 and 4 would show that love and hate are incompatible in the Christian. Thank you Steven. You nailed it spot on the mark brother.

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Bill September 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Found your article while searching to find what the Bible says saves us, or by what are we are saved. I’ill have to come back and read the whole page but I noticed that in the second paragraph you wrote that you were saved when you place “your faith in Christ,” that that was the point in time when you were “saved.” I know you are trying to argue against man’s “works,” but how does this do that?
When I search the New Testament Paul says in Eph. 2:8-9 that it is by “grace” that we have been saved, while Peter says “baptism now saves you.” Are they at odds with each other, or can it be that NT baptism is faith in action, and like Abraham’s obedient leaving and following, is the faith that is rewarded with salvation? I await your reply.

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Jack Wellman September 26, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Thank you so much Bill for your visiting us and your comment/question. I believe that I should have said it that when I trusted in Christ I was born again and yes, this it is by grace we are saved & not of works, lest we boast (brag).

As far as what Peter said, he is not at odds with Paul. Which comes first? Salvation or baptism? I believe we are told to repent and be baptized. So we are saved first by grace and then we are command to be baptized. Baptism doesn’t save us…but only Christ saves us but even though we are not saved by baptism we are saved to get baptized. Make sense Bill?

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Hannes October 10, 2012 at 6:17 am

I can only ask as Jesus did, was the Baptism of John from heaven or from men. If then send from God before Jesus was even preaching, how is it that men question it. You should only obey it. As Jesus went through the water you should also. By this you learn to be obedient in faith and not question the way God wants your salvation to look like.

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Galen December 11, 2012 at 4:19 am

I have been doing a lot of research into this, a lot of praying and actively looking for answers both in scripture and in opinions and reviews of other people teaching soundly I.e. Voddie Baucham and Ray Comfort. Just 2 people that I regularly listen to, through my looking into it I can’t help but always come to the conclusion that we have salvation before we are baptized and you can see this when Peter was speaking and while he was speaking the Holy Spirit fell upon the gentiles and they started speaking in tounges and praising God. Unsaved people DO NOT speak in tounge’s. Unsaved people DO NOT exalt/worship God with, speaking in tounge’s and worshiping God are things that a believer, someone who has placed their trust in Christ does.

Baptizm is performed after the saving faith as obedience to what Christ commanded, we know that the Holy Spirit is the seal of our inheritance and it is through the Holy Spirit we receive our spiritual mark of belonging to Christ. To say God’s Spirit only comes after baptism is effectually putting the sovereign power of God in a box until we give Him permission to work, His Spirit is even likened to a rushing wind going where it pleases. You can also see that Peter and the rest of the circumcised Jews were rather surprised that the Holy Spirit came upon those who weren’t yet baptised. Nevertheless baptism should always be a followup of the saving faith which is the free gift of salvation to those who believe not just Jesus’s existence but His finished work on the cross and have placed their life’s trust in Him for who he is and what he has done. Baptism is a ign or a mark of Discipleship that we are in Christ and He is in us

I see from the main argument it is seemingly unlikely that God places a certain time limit within someones life to be forgiven as if the last few days or whatever the case may be they have fallen out of that Grace period if I may say and forgiveness is no longer applicable. Again if we say that we are saying that God’s grace isn’t enough and we are pursuing righteousness that is only found in Christ through baptism of the Holy Spirit.

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george loper December 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Folks,
The subject of baptism can really cause a stir among people, can’t it? When a person reads the Bible, they must always look at the context. What is the context of Acts 2:38? Peter is preaching to Jews who have just crucified their Messiah. That is not applicable to anyone living today. God gave baptism as a link between the old and new testament for the Jews. He used water (divers washings – Heb. 9:10) as a figure for temporary purification. It had nothing to do with the washing away of sins. “Without the shedding of bood there is no remission.” (of sins) (Heb. 9:22) To be saved from the penalty of sin, the lake of fire, one must be washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, not water. (Rev. 1:5) Baptism was linked to salvation in the early church because the Jews were God’s first priority in hearing the gospel message and they were comfortable with the figure of water. But after they had received the message, baptism was dropped as a requirement. See Acts 10:43, 16:31, Rom. 10:9, Eph. 1:13, 2:8-9. Rom. chapter 6 talks about spiritual baptism, not water, when one believes on Christ. See 1st Cor. 10:31 & Eph. 1:13) In Jn. 3:5, to be born of water is to be born of the flesh. See verse 6. There is no baptism anywhere in Jn. 3. In verse 16, Jesus said it was by “believing”. And Paul was saved when he confessed Jesus as Lord, (Acts 9:6, Rom. 10:9) calling upon his name. (Rom. 10:13, Acts 22:16) The scriptures admonish us to “study to show theyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Tim. 2:15) Anyone trusting in baptism needs to repent from their dead works (Heb. 6:1) and come to the finished work of Christ on the cross. All your righteousness are as filthy rages.” (Is. 64:6) Baptism cannot save you and give you eternal life. It’s only by confessing the Lordship of Jesus Christ and believing in hs death, burial, and resurrection (the gospel. (1st Cor. 15:3-4) (Rom. 10:9-10) May God open your eyes to the truth of the gospel.

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george loper December 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Russell,
To obey the gospel is to believe. (Rom. 10:16)

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Pippy January 2, 2013 at 3:42 am

I have read, not all but most of the comments above and I am just wondering: – What is baptism then? Why are there so many very, very important scriptures in the Bible about it? I agree 100% that it doesn’t save you because, how can something that comes after you were saved, then save you?? BUT I am asking myself…. is it not a follow up act of obedience? After salvation follows obedience of the word, that includes studying the word to make it part of our beings, of our breaking away from sin, of our growing in holiness, of our growing in our love for Jesus and His ways, in our carrying out the word of God and the news of His love to the world, of our taking part of communion and all that “marks” us as Christians. In other words there MUST be actions from our side and all these are what follow after we are saved. And baptism is one of them (usually the first). Obviously I agree with all the comments of those who are led to the Lord on their death beds. Of course they did not have time to do all these things and I don’t doubt that they are saved but us??? We do have time to act after we were saved. We should do what the Bible says a saved child of God does in obedience, out of thankfulness of what Jesus did and out of love and respect for what was left for us to live by…. the map and guidelines and the bundle of love letters to us:- THE BIBLE. If we don’t follow the instructions in the Bible after salvation and after we declare our faith in our Lord and Savior, are we then still saved?? I don’t think so! For me baptism is an awesome way to declare your faith, to die with Jesus, being resurrected with Him, to prepare yourself for the road ahead (continuously with your hand in His) as a child of God who was saved by grace, and to be obedient! (not because you must, but because you want to)

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JD Rutledge February 4, 2013 at 12:42 am

I believe you do have to be baptized to receive the holy spirit. I’m not sayin those versus are wrong. Obviously than cannot be. They are in the bible. But I think they are taken out of context. You do need all those things to be saved but you also need baptism. Mark 16:16, he that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved. Acts 2:38, Repent AND be baptized everyone of you FOR the remission of sins. There is nowhere in the bible that says it is just showing you are a Christian or anything. It says it is how you receive the holy spirit. As for the old testament. The people then did not have Christ blood to be saved by. They will be in heaven yes but bc they dd not have the same rules as us. Jesus changed the rules when he died on the cross the old law is done away with and “nailed to the cross” as it says in 2 Corinthians 2:14 I believe. As for acts 2:38, that did have to do with us. That was after Christ died on the cross and that means their rules are no different than ours so why would Peter tell them to get baptized if we didn’t have too? That doesn’t make sense? We are uner the same rules. We must be baptized. If you have any questions or comments you are welcome to email me. jarutledge01@my.iccms.edu

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Jack Wellman February 4, 2013 at 11:59 am

So my friend, Jesus is not enough to save?

We must tell Jesus…”Sorry Jesus, I need to complete the work of salvation by being baptized.”

Show me the Scriptures where you say that “they dd not have the same rules as us.”

So the man that was saved by me telling him the gospel prior to his death (in a nursing home, bed-ridden, about 1 & 1/2 years agod) who was unable to be baptized is condemned to hell since he wasn’t able to physically be lifted into water to be baptized?

Which comes first? Salvation or baptism? What about the hundreds of men who died in the gulf war and Desert Storm or the Iragui war that professed Christ before they died where there was NO water available. Are they headed to hell to just because they couldn’t get to water? They professed and believed in Christ (Acts 4:12, Rom 10:9-13, John 3:16-17) but that is not enough?

Answer these questions for me sir.

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Steven February 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm

When we receive Christ we are born again spiritually. Baptism is solely for the flesh to experience the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus in the only way that it can. When Paul speaks of the “Old Man” he is referring to who you were in the flesh before you were baptized.

And you are wrong about Salvation. Salvation is the same it has always been since the fall. Salvation is about accepting that you do NEED God. Christ Jesus came as the ultimate sacrifice so that no further sacrifices would be needed. Every sin has been paid for. Even those who will never accept Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior have had their sins paid for. But you only reap the benefits when you accept that you NEED God and develop a relationship with him. God pursues us, which is why He calls us “His Bride.” Hosea is a good book to read if you want to read the basis on why Jesus called us that.

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Jack Wellman February 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Amen Steven. I love to tell the church where I am the under-shepherd to the Great Shepherd, “He sought me, He caught me, He bought me, He taught me, what I ought be.” None of this is about me but all about HE. He pursues us. I know many who have said that they were baptized and so they are saved but they bear no fruit showing repentance. We need to repent of our sins (turn around & go the other, opposite way), confess our sins to God, see our need for a Savior, then put our trust in Christ and believe in Him. The Hosea quote is spot on. Great reference.

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Leonard Simek February 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

You have to understand the new covenant which is Truth and Grace. Jesus proclaimed, Iam the way the truth and the life. In John 6:37, its clear what the will of God is…..that God desires all men to be saved through his son. A contention about baptism is not necessary. You must understand the will of God and let God deal with you. His truth is all powerful. Read John 6:37……..it clears up all of this. The moment you believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior and trust in him you are saved. The grace of God is greater than all sin and is more powerful than human understanding. Praise Jesus as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

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Haowe February 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Catholic believe baptism is necessary.
VATICAN II declared this in #7 of it’s decree Ad Gentes:
“Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door. Therefore those men cannot be saved, who though aware that God, through Jesus Christ founded the Church as something necessary, still do not wish to enter into it, or to persevere in it.” (Dogmatic constitution by Vatican II: Lumen Gentium 14) Therefore though God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6), yet a necessity lies upon the Church (1 Cor. 9:16), and at the same time a sacred duty, to preach the Gospel. And hence missionary activity today as always retains its power and necessity.”

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Amanda April 9, 2013 at 10:54 am

http://www.whybaptism.org is a great site that helps with those that need more information on the baptism requirement. I am pro baptism for salvation and I am also aware that there are exceptions (i.e. thief on cross, deathbed confessions, etc.). Honestly, God can save whoever he wants, but why take the chance to bypass baptism? Is it that difficult? I also find it interesting that some churches teach faith only, but baptism as a requirement to be a member – seems to conflict each other. I do have to admit that I struggle with this even though I’m pro baptism. I want so much to understand both sides in a clearer way. I’m originally from the “Church of Christ/Christian Church” background and I have struggled a lot to understand my Baptist brothers & sisters.

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SCOTT A. April 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm

amanda you say its a requirement to be baptized in order to be saved. so if it were a requirement for everyone to be baptized in order to be saved HE wouldnt make any exceptions to the thief on the cross or people on their death beds. HE would command them arise and be baptized. so i believe with all my heart that anyone who accepts CHRIST on their deathbed or not is saved by faith in CHRIST alone. baptism is just showing people you are dead to your old self and sin. and rising out of the water is like saying to them you are resurrected to a new way of life.

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Jack Wellman April 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Scott, your spot on the mark my brother. So true. It comes out like this when people believe that baptism is necessary to be saved; Jesus + Baptism = Salvation. This is like equal to Jesus + Works = Salvation. Some point to a few verses but 10 times more are mentioned that Christ alone saves. If we were to compare them, I believe it is trust or belief in Christ saves as compared to verses like Mark 16:16 and in fact its no contest; 68 to 5!

To believe that the exception was made for the thief on the cross is to say that there are two sets of rules and God changes not, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus saves. Baptism is the symbol of our death to self and sins, coming out of the grave (water) to a new life in Christ (new creature). I tell everyone that comes to faith in Christ to be baptized but I NEVER tell them to complete their faith in Christ by water. A person is regenerated (or born-again) first…then comes baptism.

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Woody May 17, 2013 at 8:36 am

Romans 10:13
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Jesus Christ was God Himself. He was God, the Son. The Word. He came and died for your sins. He made the sacrifice required for your sin.

There is nothing you can do to earn salvation. You must be saved by the grace of God, in receiving him (the Lord).

Once you receive the Lord, believe on him, that he was sacrificed for your sins, and rose again never to die, you KNOW you are saved.

No prayer saves you. Your BELIEF is what counts. You may pray to God now, but your prayer is simply an affirmation of your belief. Prayer is an important part of your Christian life, but it has nothing to do with salvation. Do not trust in a prayer, an act, or a baptism. Trust Christ only!

“What must I do to be saved?”

Simply believe in the Lord’s completed work; relying completely on him for your salvation.

Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Romans Chapter 10
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Question: “Does Mark 16:16 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation?”

Answer: As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches through careful consideration of the language and context of the verse. We also filter it through what we know the Bible teaches elsewhere on the subject. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to the conclusion that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation is a faulty interpretation. For more information, please visit our webpage “Is salvation by faith alone, or by faith plus works?”

Regarding Mark 16:16, it is important to remember that there are some textual problems with Mark chapter 16, verses 9-20. There is some question as to whether these verses were originally part of the Gospel of Mark or whether they were added later by a scribe. As a result, it is best not to base a key doctrine on anything from Mark 16:9-20, such as snake handling, unless it is also supported by other passages of Scripture.

Assuming that verse 16 is original to Mark, does it teach that baptism is required for salvation? The short answer is, no, it does not. In order to make it teach that baptism is required for salvation, one must go beyond what the verse actually says. What this verse does teach is that belief is necessary for salvation, which is consistent with the countless verses where only belief is mentioned (e.g., John 3:18; John 5:24; John 12:44; John 20:31; 1 John 5:13).

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). This verse is composed of two basic statements. 1—He who believes and is baptized will be saved. 2—He who does not believe will be condemned.

While this verse tells us something about believers who have been baptized (they are saved), it does not say anything about believers who have not been baptized. In order for this verse to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation, a third statement would be necessary, viz., “He who believes and is not baptized will be condemned” or “He who is not baptized will be condemned.” But, of course, neither of these statements is found in the verse.

Those who try to use Mark 16:16 to teach that baptism is necessary for salvation commit a common but serious mistake that is sometimes called the Negative Inference Fallacy. This is the rule to follow: “If a statement is true, we cannot assume that all negations (or opposites) of that statement are also true.” For example, the statement “a dog with brown spots is an animal” is true; however, the negative, “if a dog does not have brown spots, it is not an animal” is false. In the same way, “he who believes and is baptized will be saved” is true; however, the statement “he who believes but is not baptized will not be saved” is an unwarranted assumption. Yet this is exactly the assumption made by those who support baptismal regeneration.

Consider this example: “Whoever believes and lives in Kansas will be saved, but those that do not believe are condemned.” This statement is strictly true; Kansans who believe in Jesus will be saved. However, to say that only those believers who live in Kansas are saved is an illogical and false assumption. The statement does not say a believer must live in Kansas in order to go to heaven. Similarly, Mark 16:16 does not say a believer must be baptized. The verse states a fact about baptized believers (they will be saved), but it says exactly nothing about believers who have not been baptized. There may be believers who do not dwell in Kansas, yet they are still saved; and there may be believers who have not been baptized, yet they, too, are still saved.

The one specific condition required for salvation is stated in the second part of Mark 16:16: “Whoever does not believe will be condemned.” In essence, Jesus has given both the positive condition of belief (whoever believes will be saved) and the negative condition of unbelief (whoever does not believe will be condemned). Therefore, we can say with absolute certainty that belief is the requirement for salvation. More importantly, we see this condition restated positively and negatively throughout Scripture (John 3:16; John 3:18; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:53-54; John 8:24; Acts 16:31).

Jesus mentions a condition related to salvation (baptism) in Mark 16:16. But a related condition should not be confused with a requirement. For example, having a fever is related to being ill, but a fever is not required for illness to be present. Nowhere in the Bible do we find a statement such as “whoever is not baptized will be condemned.” Therefore, we cannot say that baptism is necessary for salvation based on Mark 16:16 or any other verse.

Does Mark 16:16 teach that baptism is necessary for salvation? No, it does not. It clearly establishes that belief is required for salvation, but it does not prove or disprove the idea of baptism being a requirement. How can we know, then, if one must be baptized in order to be saved? We must look to the full counsel of God’s Word. Here is a summary of the evidence:

1—The Bible is clear that we are saved by faith alone. Abraham was saved by faith, and we are saved by faith (Romans 4:1-25; Galatians 3:6-22).

2—Throughout the Bible, in every dispensation, people have been saved without being baptized. Every believer in the Old Testament (e.g., Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon) was saved but not baptized. The thief on the cross was saved but not baptized. Cornelius was saved before he was baptized (Acts 10:44-46).

3—Baptism is a testimony of our faith and a public declaration that we believe in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures tell us that we have eternal life the moment we believe (John 5:24), and belief always comes before being baptized. Baptism does not save us any more than walking an aisle or saying a prayer saves us. We are saved when we believe.

4—The Bible never says that if one is not baptized then he is not saved.

5—If baptism were required for salvation, then no one could be saved without another party being present. Someone must be there to baptize a person before he can be saved. This effectively limits who can be saved and when he can be saved. The consequences of this doctrine, when carried to a logical conclusion, are devastating. For example, a soldier who believes on the battlefield but is killed before he can be baptized would go to hell.

6—Throughout the Bible we see that at the point of faith a believer possesses all the promises and blessings of salvation (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 20:31; Acts 10:43; 13:39; 16:31). When one believes, he has eternal life, does not come under judgment, and has passed from death into life (John 5:24)—all before he or she is baptized.

If you believe in baptismal regeneration, you would do well to prayerfully consider whom or what you are really putting your trust in. Is your faith in a physical act (being baptized) or in the finished work of Christ on the cross? Whom or what are you trusting for salvation? Is it the shadow (baptism) or the substance (Jesus Christ)? Our faith must rest in Christ alone. “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-Mark-16-16.html#ixzz2TYR20JSh

Bible Baptism
By Dr. John R. Rice

CHAPTER 4 – BAPTISM DOES NOT SAVE – DOES NOT HELP SAVE

A favorite device of the Devil is to have men look to their works for their salvation instead of looking to Christ. He leads some to trust in their morality, some to depend upon lodge membership, some to depend upon confessions to priests; some he leads to trust in baptism. That is a fatal mistake. The unanimous voice of all the Scriptures is that people are saved by simple faith in Christ, without any act of righteousness, and baptism is never mentioned as a part of the plan of salvation. Baptism is an act of righteousness, for Jesus said in Matthew 3:15, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Titus 3:5 says that such acts of righteousness do not save us:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Baptism is certainly a good work, but Ephesians 2:8,9 likewise says plainly that salvation is altogether a matter of God’s mercy and not of our works :

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

Salvation is a gift of God which is not deserved, is not bought, and cannot be paid for. No church nor preacher nor the individual saved has any right to claim credit when a soul is saved.

In fact, we are told again and again in the Bible that the man who trusts in Christ has everlasting life immediately. John 3:36 says:

“He that believeth on the Son HATH everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

“Hath” means has, present tense, in modern English. Likewise, John 5:24 says:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but IS PASSED from death unto life.”

The same teaching is given in John 6:47:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me HATH everlasting life.”

In the Bible, we find it clear that people believed first and then were baptized. According to these statements from God’s Word, they were already saved before they were baptized and any other man who trusts in Christ is saved that second, before he could possibly get to the baptismal waters. It does not take baptism to save one.

WHAT DOES “BAPTIZED FOR REMISSION OF SINS” MEAN?
In Acts 2:38, the term “for the remission of sins” is used as follows :

“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.”

Some people think that this passage contradicts the dozens of other plain statements in the Bible that a man is saved by faith and saved immediately when he believes. But when you use the word for in this passage just as it is used so many times in every-day conversation, you will see what Peter said. A man is arrested for stealing; one is grateful for a favor; one is blamed for carelessness; one is commended for bravery. The word for here does not mean in order to or to secure remission of sins, and it is not rendered that way in any translation of the Bible we know of anywhere. The Greek word eis here translated for is sometimes translated in the Bible against, among, at, unto, upon, etc. It might properly be translated here “baptized upon the remission of your sins” or “baptized referring to, or pointing toward the remission of your sins,” or “baptized in the remission of your sins.” When one repents, he receives the remission of his sins. Then the obedient heart, following Christ in baptism, is promised the gift of the Holy Ghost, an entirely separate mutter from salvation. What Peter said was that people ought to repent and then, after their sins are forgiven, they should be baptized as evidence of that. That is exactly what people ought to be baptized for, that is, to show the remission of their sins. That Scripture, then, does not mean that people ought to be baptized in order to be saved.

“HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED”
In Mark 16:16, believing and baptized are used together:

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Christians are supposed to be baptized as soon as possible after they are saved. In Bible times they were usually baptized the same day, oftentimes the same hour of their conversion, even if it were midnight as in the case of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:33. In fact, baptism is a public profession of faith. One can see baptism; one cannot see faith in the heart. It is natural to think of baptism following salvation, and Jesus said that those who believed and were baptized should be saved. He did not mean to contradict the rest of the Bible though, as you will see from the following words in the same verse, for He added. “But he that believeth not shall be damned.” That makes it clear that the matter which settles it is believing just the same as is taught in John 3:18:

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The above verse, John 3:18, settles it that the man who believes in Christ is not condemned, whether or not he has been baptized. It also settles that the reason a man is condemned is “because he hath not believed.” Salvation is settled by belief in Christ, and only by that.

BELIEVING DOES NOT INCLUDE BAPTISM
There are so many Scriptures which plainly state again and again that the man who believes in Christ is saved, that those who teach baptism is essential to salvation cannot deny that. They try to get around these many Scriptures, however, by saying that faith includes baptism, that is, if one believes in Christ, he will be baptized, and that faith is not complete until one is baptized. However, in Mark 16:16 Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized,” showing that believing and being baptized are two different things. If believing includes baptism, then Jesus would not have added the word about baptism. If repenting includes baptism, Peter would not have said in Acts 2:38. “Repent and be baptized.” No, they are not the same and are nowhere spoken of as the same in the Bible, nor is it ever stated in the Bible that believing includes baptism, nor that if one trusts Christ, he will be baptized. “He that believeth on the Son bath everlasting life” before he is baptized. Baptism does not save.

“BORN OF WATER” DOES NOT MEAN BAPTISM
“Born of water and of the Spirit” in John 3:5 is often quoted as if it referred to baptism. It most certainly does NOT, however. That passage says nothing about baptism, and in the same conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus repeatedly told just what it took to get this new birth. Read verses 14 to 18 and you will see that it is simply believing in Christ. “Born of water and of the Spirit” in John 3:5, is the same as “the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost” in Titus 3:5. That verse plainly says that this is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,” by this birth of water and the Spirit, or cleansing of regeneration and being made alive by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:26 tells us how Christ gave Himself for the church “that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” But this washing takes place inside. James 1:18 tells us that “of his own will begat he us with the word … ,” and I Peter 1:23 says that we are “born again … by the word of God.” These Scriptures seem to mean that when one is saved, he is inwardly washed, cleansed, led to repentance and faith, by the Word of God, and made alive, spiritually, by the Holy Spirit. That, I believe, is the plain meaning of John 3:5, “born of water and the Spirit.”

All of that happens on the inside of every sinner who is born of God. It is not on the outside, and is not baptism.

Notice the words again in John 3:5, “born of water and of the Spirit.” The second “of” is in italics, which shows that it was not in the original Greek. Jesus said one must be “born of water and the Spirit,” one birth. Jesus was only talking about one new birth, which happens on the inside. He did not say one needed to be born of the Spirit inside and of baptism outside, and did not mean so. John 3:5 does not refer to baptism.

“BAPTISM DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE US”
I Peter 3:21 is used as an argument that baptism saves people. Speaking of the ark “wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water,” that passage continues:

“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.”

All difficulty about this passage disappears when you take the first plain statement in the verse that this is a “figure.” The ark was a figure and picture of salvation, and the ark was certainly a type of Christ. Baptism is a “like figure” and Roman 6:5 states that it is a “likeness” of the death, and a “likeness” of the resurrection of Christ. Peter then continues that baptism does not put away the filth of the flesh, and says that it is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” Baptism, then, is only a picture, or figure, of salvation, and the man who is baptized should already have a “good conscience.” In Hebrews 9:14 we are told how the conscience is to be purged by the blood of Christ. Then, after that conscience is purged “from dead works to serve the living God” and one has a “good conscience,” he has a right to be baptized.

One who is baptized professes to have a good conscience toward God, with his sins forgiven. If that is not true, he has no right to be baptized and baptism is a lie and an empty pretense. Baptism is only for saved people, the answer of a conscience cleansed and forgiven.

“BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST”
Some people have been troubled by the phrase “baptized into Christ” in Galatians 3:27, which reads:

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

However, that is very clear if you read the verse before it and the rest of the context. Verse 26 says plainly, “For ye are all the children of God BY FAITH in Christ Jesus.” The whole book of Galatians is written to prove that people are saved not by works, but by faith.

“Baptized into Christ” should read “baptized unto Christ” and is often so translated. The same Greek word, eis, translated in our King James Version into in this particular verse, is translated in verses 23 and 24 of the same chapter, unto. It is translated unto in scores of cases, to in many others, and for in many cases.

Compare “baptized into Christ” in Galatians 3:27 and “baptized into Jesus Christ” in Romans 6:3 with a phrase just like them in I Corinthians 10:2 – “baptized unto Moses.” The word unto is a translation of the same Greek word eis as into in the other passages. If the covering of Israel in the cloud and Red Sea did not put Israel into Moses, then baptism does not, of course, put one into Christ. Rather baptism points “unto” Christ, of course.

What the Lord says here is that as many as have been baptized for Christ, or pointing toward Christ, or picturing Christ, have publicly claimed Him before the world as their Saviour. I Peter 3:21 plainly states that baptism is a figure or picture. Romans 6:5 says twice that baptism is a “likeness” of the death and resurrection of Christ and also pictures the new life which the Christians plan to live. Colossians 2:12 tells us the same thing. A person then should be baptized unto Christ, that is, for Christ and to picture the change of heart which he already has by faith in Christ. This Scripture simply bears out the many, many plain statements of the Scripture that one is saved by faith, and puts on in figure and likeness, before the world, what already God has put in the heart. God puts the light in us, we should let it shine. God works in us our salvation, and we are commanded to work it out. (Phil. 2:12,13).

“ARISE AND BE BAPTIZED AND WASH AWAY THY SINS”
Our friends who claim that baptism saves, or that one cannot be saved without baptism, sometimes quote Acts 22:16 as evidence that baptism saves :

“And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

Compare this with the Lord’s account of what happened, as given in Acts 9:17. Ananias said:

“Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”

Remember that baptism is a figure, or picture, according to I Peter 3:21 and Romans 6:5. When Paul quoted, “Wash away thy sins,” he certainly meant to use figurative language. Baptism is a figure as the Lord has told us. Compare this language with Matthew 26:26,28 where Jesus said, “This is my body” … and “This is my blood.” Jesus certainly meant, “This represents my body and my blood.” “Be baptized, and wash away thy sins,” certainly means, be baptized to picture the washing away of your sins. That is what baptism always does picture. Paul did not mean in Acts 22:16 to teach a different plan of salvation from that one he gave the jailer in Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Nor did he mean Acts 22:16 to contradict Acts 13:39 where he told the people at Antioch, “And by him all that BELIEVE are justified from all things.” (Already saved without baptism!)

The man who depends on baptism to save him will go down in the water a dry sinner and will come up a wet sinner, but he need expect no change of heart in that water. Baptism is to picture a change of heart which happens when one trusts in Christ.

OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS SAVED BY FAITH, WITHOUT BAPTISM
We have the record of many people in the Bible who were saved without baptism. I remind you that God has never had but one plan of salvation. In the Old Testament it was “not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). In fact, the eleventh chapter of Hebrews tells us of case after case of people in the Old Testament times who were saved by faith. Acts 10:43 makes clear that the only plan of salvation taught in the Old Testament was by faith in Christ, just as it was preached in the New Testament. There, Peter said:

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”

Remember, there never was any plan of salvation but by faith. Every Old Testament sacrifice and ceremony was a picture and shadow and type of the Lord Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world!”

Now, all of these Old Testament saints were saved without baptism, for there is not a word in the Old Testament about baptism and no record of a single person’s ever being baptized before John the Baptist began it. Baptism, then, is not a part of God’s plan of salvation.

PEOPLE SAVED WITHOUT BAPTISM IN NEW TESTAMENT
Since the same plan of salvation was preached in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and people were saved in the Old Testament without baptism, you would expect them to be saved in the New Testament without baptism, and they were. In Luke 7:37-50 is the story of a woman, a notorious sinner. Verses 47 to 50 in that seventh chapter of Luke tell us plainly that her sins were forgiven her and that her faith had saved her. Read carefully these Scriptures :

Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, ARE FORGIVEN; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

“And he said unto her, THY SINS ARE FORGIVEN”

“And he said to the woman, THY FAITH HATH SAVED THEE; go in peace.”

Jesus plainly stated that the woman was already forgiven and was already saved by faith. She knelt at the feet of Jesus, trusted Him, and went away a saved woman. She was saved without baptism.

In Luke 18:35-43 we are told about the healing and conversion of a blind man. Verse 42 tells plainly, in the words of Jesus Himself, just how he was saved :

“And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: THY FAITH HATH SAVED THEE.”

Notice that salvation was received right there before he was baptized.

That is the same plan of salvation given throughout the book of John; in John 1:12, John 3:14-18, John 3:36, John 5:24, John 6:37, and many other places. It is the same plan taught by Peter after Pentecost (Acts 10:43). It was the same plan taught by Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, (Acts 13:38,39; Acts 16:30,31; Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 3:28 and Romans 4:5-8). People were saved in the Old Testament by faith without baptism, were saved during the life of Jesus by faith without baptism, and were saved after Pentecost by faith without baptism.

That publican, about whom the Saviour has told us in Luke 18:13,14 was saved without baptism. Standing there in the temple, he prayed, saying. “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus tells us about him then, that, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified”! He was saved, then, without baptism.

THIEF ON THE CROSS SAVED WITHOUT BAPTISM
The most remarkable case of this kind is the thief converted on the cross as told in Luke 23:39-43. When that poor man turned to the Lord Jesus and asked to be in His kingdom, the Lord Jesus replied, “Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise”! He died that day on the cross as we are told in the Scriptures and so could not have been baptized. But that day, according to the express statement of the Saviour, he went with Jesus to paradise. And some happy day, all who trust in Christ will see him there.

No, baptism is not essential to salvation.

TRUST JESUS FOR SALVATION
God has just one plan of salvation. It is not a process. It is not a series of steps. People are saved by faith in Christ, that way and no other way. Everything else that God asks of a sinner in order to be saved: repentance, prayer, coming to Christ, etc., is summed up and settled when one depends upon Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. One could not turn his mind or heart toward God (repentance), without faith in Christ. You cannot come to Christ without believing on Him. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ?,” (Rom. 10:14). Confession by the mouth simply proves faith in the heart which has already secured salvation. God has no other plan of salvation except that promised in John 3:16,18,36; John 5:24; John 6:47; Acts 16:30-31. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Baptism follows, should follow immediately, but is not a part of God’s plan of salvation. When you are baptized, be sure that fact is made clear to those who look on. If you have this salvation, this change of heart by faith in Jesus Christ, then I beg you, follow Jesus in baptism as soon as possible.

But to say a Dieing Soldier,or someone one dying on thier Death Bed can’t Repent & recieve christ as thier savior,unless thier baptised is Crazy to me!
Someone could be saved at a church service & driving to thier Baptism to a creek with Church members following in thier cars & be killed in a car wreck,& i believe that has happened,to say this person wasn’t saved is Crazy.jmo

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Woody May 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

This above is for Russel,I agree with you Jack.I believe over all time thier have been many saved on thier death beds,those who’s never heard the gospel in jungles,tribes,many saved in church services going to thier baptism’s,maybe killed in car wreck’s,earthquakes,tornados,floods,I was told a story of a 18 year old boy getting saved in church his eyes full of tears confessing christ,killed in a head on car crash on the way to the Creek to get Baptised,How many 18 year old Soldiers flying into combat on thier first mission cryed out to god to save thier soul & forgive them thier sins were killed in that flight never being able to get back to base to be baptised,How many Soldiers on navy ships having being saved & thier ships hit with Enemy fire & Drown having no time to be Baptised,How many kids saved at church walking home from church & were kidnaped Raped & killed before they could make it to the Creek or River.I would be afraid to say no she or he never made it,my uncle a korean vet,fought for our country on the front lines,was saved on his death Bed & you new he was saved telling my father his brother praise God,Praise God I’m not afraid to die i’m ready to go,a pastor came to him in the hospital & told him the word of God He said I never new thier were people like that,he lived a life like a hermit,never talking to only family members,But my father a unsaved man came home weeping he told me I know my Brother is saved I see Jesus in him!
I was 28 years old,I was told by Doctors i had conjestive Heart faliure,& non-ischemic cardiomyopathy & my ejection fraction was 14% & i’d be lucky to live a year or two,I gave my heart to God that night,I new beyond a shadow of a doubt i was saved,it was weeks before i got out of the hospital & i was Baptised But had i died that night I was homeward Bound,The Bible says Seek your own Soul salvation,Brother I Did & i knew it I preach the Word of God,& 19 years later i’m still alive am i on Medicines yes But without God I would never be Here,I was a alcoholic,abusive,High tempered,But a flu virus damaged my heart & God Changed my Heart not when i was Baptised But that night I knew Beyond a shadow of a Doubt Right then, & had I died in the Hospital I was Heaven Bound.
the Bible says no for yourself & not another,Well I knew for myself & i’ve been changed ever since.I been Married 28 years to the same Woman & have a beautiful Daughter,my life changed,my marriage changed,I became a better father.Not because I was put under water But Because I believed.

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Jack Wellman May 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Amen Woody. This is such a concise and accurate article. I think we come dangerously close to being an enemy of the cross when we try to add the sacraments as required to complete our salvation. Why else did Jesus say at the cross, just before He died, “It is finished” which is really translated “Paid in full.” Thanks so much.

T April 23, 2013 at 12:31 am

I read several posts of the two sides of this argument (although I’ll admit, I didn’t read all of them…it’s midnight :-) However, I think at times, both sides are actually arguing for the same side.
My point being here is that I believe everyone in this discussion would agree if you took the statement of, “The act of being baptized is not what saves you” we would all be in agreement. This is because there is no biblical support for that. Walking up to a person on a street, pouring water on them, and saying “You’ve been baptized thru Jesus”, will not save someone. We all agree at this simple statement that baptism alone does not save you, correct?
Rather, a person who has confessed their sins to Jesus and has asked for repentance HAS been saved. However, if that person begins reading the bible, and see God repeatedly convicting him to be baptized, and he ignores it, doesn’t think it’s important, is this person being obedient to God? Is this person saved?
THIS is the question we should be asking ourselves. And the answer here is GRACE! Pray that this man sees his convictions and chooses to obey God. A person who faithfully loves and obeys God, now that is a saved person. Baptism is in the details. God wants us to love Him, God wants us to make a public dedication to Him thru baptism, and God wants us to spread His message.
For some people, they only get the opportunity to confess their sins and to that, I say AMEN TO GRACE. For others, they get the opportunity to continue to obey God, and in an act of obedience and love, they get baptized. Again, to that I say AMEN TO GRACE. As complicated as we make it, it’s about loving God, continually confessing our sins, continually dying on the cross, and continually asking for grace. Again, baptism is in the details.

Thank you for this article!

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Paul April 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I Peter 3:21 The like figure unto which even baptism does also now save us

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Aurelio Preza April 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm

If you read the lines and not between the lines in Acts 2:38, Peter said that baptism is for the remission of sins and one will receive the Holy Spirit. In Mark 16:16, Jesus said he that believe and is baptised shall be saved. We know from scripture that Jesus had the power to forgive sins while on earth as read in Matthew 9:6. So Jesus forgave the thief on the cross and promised him that he will be with him in paradise. Only the faithful followers of God living under the First Covenant will be saved. The death of Jesus Christ has set them free of their sins (Heb. 9:15).

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Jack Wellman April 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Aurelio, please notice that it does NOT say what you said. It actually says (which you left out by the way) “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It says “and be baptized” but it does not say “in order to be saved.” Please don’t take text out of context which you did.

Same for Mark 16:16 which says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” but it does NOT say “Whoever believes and is baptized [in order to that you] will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

As I said before, It comes out like this when people believe that baptism is necessary to be saved; Jesus + Baptism = Salvation. This is like equal to Jesus + Works = Salvation. Some point to a few verses but 10 times more are mentioned that Christ alone saves. If we were to compare them, I believe it is trust or belief in Christ saves as compared to verses like Mark 16:16 and in fact its no contest; 68 to 5!

To believe that the exception was made for the thief on the cross is to say that there are two sets of rules and God changes not, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus saves. Baptism is the symbol of our death to self and sins, coming out of the grave (water) to a new life in Christ (new creature). I tell everyone that comes to faith in Christ to be baptized but I NEVER tell them to complete their faith in Christ by water. A person is regenerated (or born-again) first…then comes baptism.

I hate to see people add Jesus + Baptism and then and only then can you be saved. This is not what the Scriptures mean and it takes away the sufficiency of Christ alone saved which is mentioned, standing alone, which outnumbers the tiny numbers you use by about 20 to 1! NO contest. Jesus alone saves…and then everyone saved should get baptized. That’s why it says “Repent AND be baptized” not as you presume, “repent and get baptized in order to be saved.

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Pamela Rose Williams May 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Jack Thank you for that additional explanation. I just want to touch on verse that Aurelio cited:

Hebrews 9:15 (KJV) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Aurelio said //Only the faithful followers of God living under the First Covenant will be saved. The death of Jesus Christ has set them free of their sins (Heb. 9:15).//

Aurelio, can you explain to me how your statement can be true from only reading Hebrews 9:15? No where in the Bible does it say that //Only the faithful followers of God living under the First Covenant will be saved. // Even if that were true doesn’t that leave us all without hope? For under that “First Covenant” you must keep the Law and that is impossible because “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10)

The Bible says that “ANY”, “ALL”, “WHOSOEVER”, “WORLD, and “EVERY ONE” who believe shall be saved (John 6:51; John 10:9; Acts 10:36; Rom 3:22; 1 Cor 15:22; Mat 10:32; Mat 10:33; Mat 16:25; John 3:15; John 3:16; John 11:26; John 6:40). There is no qualifier that says we must be “First Covenant” keepers to be saved.

I stand on this promise!

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Jack Wellman May 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Great point Pam and thank you so much. I have not even heard of this “first covenant” but I heard of the Old and the New (and better) Covenant which supersedes the first. Imagine that God needs additional works from us to complete what Jesus said on the Cross “It is finished” which in the Greek is literally, “Paid in full.”

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Garry May 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

How can you say that baptism does not save us when Romans 16:16 says he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Also Acts 2:38 says repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins. How can you be saved without having your sins removed? We must have faith , but faith causes us to obey Gods word and it says we must be baptized to be saved again Romans 16:16.

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Steven Sexton May 17, 2013 at 10:09 am

I do not know why we even argue this as Christians, I am willing to put down my next paycheck that everyone who is here and is saved has been baptized. Has anyone ever said “I like being saved but I don’t want to be baptized because I have poor hygiene.”?

I myself have been baptized once as a child, and twice as an adult. The second time as an adult it was because I finally came to understand what a true relationship with Christ Jesus is. And I began to understand why He wanted us to be baptized and why He was baptized Himself.

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peter May 31, 2013 at 10:14 am

Thank you very much for clear teaching.

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Larry July 11, 2013 at 9:58 am

Mr. Wellman,

I have a couple of questions concerning the material in your article.

You wrote, ” Anything that adds to this belief is works and to suggest that being baptized is necessary to being saved is tantamount to saying that Jesus perfect life, sacrifice, death, and resurrection was not enough: I must add baptism to it to complete the saving work of Christ.” This seems to imply works are not necessary for salvation in Christ. If this is so, then what of John 6:28-29? Jesus clearly said to believe on Him is a work of God. So it would seem to me that adding faith to “complete the saving work of Christ” would be just as wrong as adding baptism. If not, why not?

In addition, you wrote, “Not one of these Scriptures has adjacent verses that talk anything about adding to the saving work of believing in Jesus. No mention is made of baptism in these verses and nothing is said like ‘but you must also be baptized’”. I disagree with this; the first scripture used in the list was Acts 16:30-31. Yet the next two verses say, “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” Note carefully, after they were told to believe, the word of the Lord was preached and then they were baptized. Question: why was the keeper and his household baptized if all they needed to do was believe? Because the “word of the Lord” contains more than just belief only to be saved (James 2:17-26). If not, why?

Thanks in advance for your response to these questions.

Larry

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Jack Wellman July 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thank you Larry for your comment and questions. Acts 16:30-31 “Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, vwhat must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you yand your household.”

What must I do to be saved? They answer “You must believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…” not you must believe on the Lord Jesus and be baptized in order to be saved.”

As for John 6:28-29, lets back up a bit to see context which is vital in understanding and start at verse 27:

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has oset his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” Here Jesus was answering them when they asked “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Did Jesus say, be baptized or do good works to be saved? NO! He said, here is the only work needed…Jesus said “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” That’s it! Nothing else….not baptism, not works, nothing. Read Galatians chapter 1 & 2…and in fact all of Galatians.

As for James, you can clearly see that a faith that doesn’t produce works is not real faith or it is dead (a person dead in their sins still). A faith that saves is a faith that comes with work as fruit. The scriptures clearly teach that we are saved (justified) by faith in Christ and what He has done on the cross. This faith alone saves us. However, we cannot stop here without addressing what James says in James 2:24, “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”

There is no contradiction. All you need to do is look at the context. James chapter 2 has 26 verses: Verses 1-7 instruct us not to show favoritism. Verses 8-13 are comments on the Law. Verses 14-26 are about the relationship between faith and works.

James begins this section by using the example of someone who says he has faith but has no works, “What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14). In other words, James is addressing the issue of a dead faith, a faith that is nothing more than a verbal pronouncement, a public confession of the mind, and is not heart-felt. It is empty of life and action. He begins with the negative and demonstrates what an empty faith is (verses 15-17, words without actions). Then he shows that type of faith isn’t any different from the faith of demons (verse 19). Finally, he gives examples of living faith that has words followed by actions. Works follow true faith and demonstrate that faith to our fellow man, but not to God. James writes of Abraham and Rahab as examples of people who demonstrated their faith by their deeds.

So do you think that we are not going to be saved if we do not get baptized?

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Larry July 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Mr. Wellman,

I agree that Jesus did not specifically say anything about baptism in John 6:28-29. But neither did He say anything about repentance or confession in that passage. The issue is not about whether belief in Christ is necessary, but whether all the commands and examples in the scriptures give authority and guidance on how one must be saved. For instance, the chief rulers believed on Him but did not confess him (John 12:42), and Jesus said they who would not confess would not be saved (Matt. 10:32-33). So, confession is a work that is required to be a child of God (Rom 10:9), in addition to belief. If this is true, belief is not the only work required for salvation.

Concerning your response to Acts 16, we both understand they were told to believe on the Lord and they would be saved. But the text says immediately after that the word of the Lord was spoken unto them. There was something in the “word of the Lord”, in addition to “believe on the Lord”, was there not? So I ask again, why was the keeper and his household baptized if all they needed to do was believe?

You said that good works are not necessary to be saved and to read the book of Galatians. You and I would both agree that the acts listed in Galatians 5:19-21 are not good works. Could a Christian engage in said activity and still be saved? How do you reconcile your statements that good works are not necessary to be saved and behavior “empty of life and action” condemns?

I’ll answer your last question with a question, since Jesus did the same (Matt. 21:24-25). The scripture says, If you love me keep my commandments (John 14:15). Since belief and baptism are both commands and works to be obeyed, if a person willfully disobeys any command of God, will that person receive eternal life (Heb. 10:26-29)?

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Jack Wellman July 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Since you did not answer my question but posed yet another question, then neither will I answer your question…as was Jesus’ tactics against the self-righteous….and so then the conclusion is that you obviously believe that Jesus + baptism = salvation when in reality, Jesus + anything = nothing.

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Jamie July 12, 2013 at 3:39 am

Jack, may I know for those who believe & repent and want to be baptise; may I know if she/he was baptise not immerse in the water as the Bible mentioned but the method by sprinkling of water to the head, though he can walk around but have some sickness. What do you think of such practise which the Evangelist of the Church for doing such for him? What I understand is there is only 1 type of baptism which a person is conscious & not an infant that need baptism right? The baptism mentioned in the Bible is immerse into the water by confess that Jesus is our Lord (for those who can do so physically) except those on the deathbed. Look forward to your view on this.. from Bible perspective.

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Jack Wellman July 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I so agree Jamie…how can an infant repent from their sins, confess them to God and put their trust in Christ when tey can not understand such concepts?

Also, the Greek word for baptism means “immersion” and not sprinkling. Every baptism in the Bible was by submersion and never, ever even one time by sprinkling, and so you are exactly right Jamie. Well said. Thank you.

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Jamie August 5, 2013 at 1:12 am

What is your view of many Churches who practice baptism by sprinkling of water? I’m not sure how God view these kind of baptism, though I know that before baptism we are saved by faith & God’s grace. Actually I’m looking for Church to go and noticed that some Churches doesn’t practice that way. Also looking for Church that doesn’t have woman pastor preaching to the pulpit.

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Jack Wellman August 5, 2013 at 8:35 am

I disagree with any church or pastor that sprinkles by water because the Greek word for baptism means to be submerged …that is to go completely under water and so sprinkling is not biblical and Jesus Himself, even though He was sinless didn’t need to be baptized but did it to fulfill all righteousness was baptized under the water.

As for a woman pastor preaching, this also is not biblical as you can read at this article link: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/should-women-be-pastors-or-elders-of-a-church-a-bible-study/

As for finding a church, if you let me know what town or area you are in I can let you know which churches are biblically sound in the place in which you desire to worship. Thank you for your very important comment.

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Jamie August 19, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Hi Jack, my family (including me) is staying in Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia.
I found this website http://www.malaysian-brethren.org/ & from there we have started to visit a few of them such as Subang Jaya Gospel Centre, Bandar Puchong Gospel Centre. After got the contacts from the Church above, we had visited Chinese Church (Puchong Gospel Chapel) & we plan to visit Serdang Life Chapel which they said are from the same Brethren. My husband preferred Chinese speaking Church. They had given us some new contacts & address of new set up Chinese Church.

Appreciate you can let me know / recommend some Churches that are biblically sound to go.

Jack Wellman August 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

Jamie, we do not have a list of churches in your area that are biblically sound but we do have 2 articles that reveal how you can find one. One article is called “How to Find a Bible-Believing Church” at

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-to-find-a-bible-believing-church/

The other is “How to Find a Church: 7 Things to Look For” at:

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-to-choose-a-church-7-things-to-look-for/

I hope this helps you Jamie to find a good, sound church. Thank you for visiting us.

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Jamie July 12, 2013 at 3:43 am

Jack, What is your view on baptism by the evangelist who perform the baptism for a believer by sprinkling water to the head i.e. he can walk around (though his reasoning is he have sickness)?

What I understand from Bible is only 1 type of baptism which is those who are conscious and only by immerse into the water. Means to say, infant doesn’t need to be baptise right, only until they are conscious & ready then they shall be baptise?

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juan July 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm

love it :) muchisimas gracias por su tiempo y por su ayuda (respuestas)

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Jack Wellman July 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm

El placer es todo mío. Mi español no es tan perfecto. Hablo como un 5 cinco años de edad.

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Candace August 4, 2013 at 11:56 pm

A friend asked a question today in Sunday school, he was baptized as a child after accepting Christ, but his baptism was a sprinkling not a submersion, so he doesn’t feel comfortable taking part in the Lords supper and wanted to know if he should now as an adult with this new knowledge of baptism by submersion be baptized again. Does it really matter now after all these years of knowing he was saved? Should he be baptized again? I know that being baptized won’t save you and that it should be by submersion but wasn’t sure how to answer. I don’t think baptism should affect the lords supper but just didn’t know if it mattered now.

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Jack Wellman August 5, 2013 at 8:31 am

Candace, thank you so much for this very important comment. I believe your friend is feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit to tell him to get baptized. I so agree with you that baptism doesn’t save anyone but only Jesus saves but once a person is saved, they should be baptized and the Greek word for baptize means submersion and so I agree that he should get baptized, even though he is still saved. I think he will feel much better too overall and not just during the Lord’s supper.

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Sean A. August 6, 2013 at 11:41 am

Whose work is baptism anyway?

What do you make of this article:

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Jack Wellman August 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Sean, I did not allow the link to be posted as normally links are not allowed and this one really bothered me after reading it. It is so unbiblical. One quote was “Whether baptized as infants or adults, each of us is to celebrate the continuing significance of having been baptized” and ” we acknowledge our continual need, whether as infants or adults, to be connected to Jesus Christ and to be cleansed.”

How can a person be saved? Jesus answers that in Luke 13:3 that “unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” How can an infant repent? How can an infant know what sin is? How can an infant know that they have sin to repent of? This “professor” also said “A rejection of infant Baptism is symptomatic of the virus of synergism always lurking in the wings of God’s church to infect it is a man-centered focus.” What? I disagree. Infants that are baptized are saved? What Scripture says that? All who repent and confess their sin and need for a Savior and put their trust in Christ will be saved but how can an infant, in all reality, know this?

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Bettie August 19, 2013 at 9:10 am

I was baptized as an infant, raised in the Methodist church, youngest of three daughters, all born from Christian parents. I accepted Christ at a revival service at a Church of God, not my own church at the request of a friend. I was in the second grade and Just as I Am was playing. Later, many years later, I was immersed while a member of a Christian Union Church, in a pond, by the minister. I was accepted as a child of God at my submission to His calling as a child, I let God out of my life later as a teenager but confided in Him while a mother of three boys (all with Juvenal diabetes) I needed His strength to carry me through trying times (spousal abuse). I don’t have scripture falling out of my mouth, but I rely on God to give me the words to speak. I don’t believe either baptism saved me but only my submission to God and accepting Jesus as my Savior will allow my walk through the gate of gold. I also believe that heaven isn’t higher by way of miles above us, but on a higher spiritaul plane though close as touching . invisible by the eye but felt with the heart. I know when someone is with me, either my Jesus, angels or my loved ones gone before me and I know I will be with them one day, even though they may not have been baptized.

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Jack Wellman August 19, 2013 at 9:15 am

Amen Bettie…this is so well said and you are exactly right. I am overjoyed at the thought of knowing you will be assured of passing thru the gates of heaven and cannot wait to meet the many saints who have done as you. Jesus saves and that is the main thing of our salvation for it is in Christ alone by grace alone that we are saved. Thank you so much.

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Tim October 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm

The Apostle Paul states “I thank God that I did not baptize any of you…”. Glad to see that Paul clearly doesn’t believe baptism is a part of your salvation.

Not sure if someone has mentioned this yet, but if baptism is part of your salvation, doesn’t that require another human being to complete your salvation??

I’ve dealt off and on with the Church of Christ group over this issue for years and have come to the conclusion that no matter how much scripture and common sense you try to show them ,they will not budge from their position.

btw, really, really like the comments from Woody. Great job Woody !!

Tim

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Jack Wellman October 2, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Great point Tim. If we believe we contribute .0001% of .001% of our salvation, then we are robbing God of glory. I once went door to door in evangelizing our town and one pastor of a Church of Christ said that I was wasting my time…you are in a church that is not Jesus’ and so if you weren’t baptized here, then you were not really saved. I felt so sorry not only for this man but the entire congregation. Not all Church of Christ churches teach and believe this but many do.

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Charlie Costner December 21, 2013 at 4:10 am

The Apostle Paul said in 1Cor. 1:17, for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel…
Salvation is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not water baptism.
If you are truely born again you will want to be baptized, but your salvation is not dependant on it.
It’s the blood of Jesus that washes away sin, not the water.

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Jack Wellman December 21, 2013 at 10:34 am

Amen and amen Mr. Costner. I wish more understood this fact that you stated. So true. If we say that we need to be baptized to complete our salvation that is works! Plus we rob God of glory for salvation is fully a work of God, 100%! I believe Acts 16:30-31 says it all: “He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

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Daniel February 10, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Jack,
In reading another comment you made, you wrote this in a reply to another poster:
“Amen and amen Mr. Costner. I wish more understood this fact that you stated. So true. If we say that we need to be baptized to complete our salvation that is works! Plus we rob God of glory for salvation is fully a work of God, 100%! I believe Acts 16:30-31 says it all: “He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

This is a wonderful text taken from Acts 16:30-34, and was wondering why you would leave the last three verses from your reply?
Acts 16:30-34
New International Version (NIV)
30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.
33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.
34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
Thanks again!
Dan

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Jack Wellman February 10, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Thanks Daniel. I love your humility in your response and so thank you sir. The remaining verses “And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God” do not affect or take away from what was said do they sir? Which came first? Their believing? Or their being baptized?

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Daniel February 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Thanks for your reply, Jack.
So if I read you correctly as to why you would leave off the next few verses (as it might confuse someone):
If baptism is unnecessary for salvation, because one is saved when confessing the Lord is Lord, then why be baptized at all?
You wrote earlier in your original posting:
“Baptism does not make you a believer but it shows you that you are a believer. It does not save a believer; it shows the believer has been saved. It is often done in the presence of family members, in front of the church a person is or has joined, and reflects an inward expression of an outward faith.”
Thus and accordingly, baptism is simply an act that is unnecessary, for, as you stated, baptism has no bearing on one’s salvation. So is it for self to prove a belief in Christ, or is it for others to know that one believes in Christ?
My confusion is when one confesses aloud in front of others that they believe, why they would also need baptism to prove to those who also heard the confession aloud.
Why do the new covenant writings all speak to an importance of the “act” of baptism, if it is unnecessary for saving grace?
Thank you so much and I do look forward to your reply. This is very enriching to our spirits as we all strive for our Lord.
Dan

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Tim February 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm

For Daniel:

I couldn’t help to respond to this;
The salvation of your soul is a miracle of the moment you place your faith and trust in Christ alone. Living in obedience to Christ and HIS commands are a task for the rest of your life.

“Unnecessary” for salvation? Yes. Unnecessary for obedience? Only you can answer that.

So, you ask, why get baptized?
1. Identify: Ever have show-and-tell when you were a kid? Don’t you want to show the most amazing gift you’ve ever received? Ever see a person with a teams sports wear on? You know without ever saying a word, they are identified with that team. Do you want to be identified with Christ? Christ was identified with sinners when he put on the robe of humanity and died for us…yet when we were still sinners. We identify with Christ in baptism.
2. Obey: go and baptize…. Mt 28. This is about submission.
3. Symbol: a picture of the washing away of sins (when you believed), demonstrating our response as a “pledge of good conscience, to live for HIM”.
4. Sharing: New birth. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ in the waters of baptism.

Christ was baptized to “Fulfill all Righteousness”. Interesting that the Father and Holy Spirit identified Christ as a person of the triune God for us at this event.

I have a personal problem with those that teach a false gospel. The gospel is of first importance from first to last. Christ died, he was buried, He rose again. There is no baptism in the gospel.

Amen,

tim

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Jack Wellman February 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Spot on brother…just spot on. You said it so much better than I could have or did say in this article and I thank God for you sir. So true indeed. If not for Jesus’ sacrifice, no water could save us.

Daniel February 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Tim,
Thanks for replying to my question posed to Jack.

When Christ was baptized to fulfill all righteousness, he was a Jew and baptism was being preached by John, a Jew, for repentence of their sins. Baptism, prior to Christian baptism, was being preached by John in preparation for Christ’s coming. Thus baptism was vital to the Jew, preached by John, full of the Holy Spirit, preparing the way for Christ.
Christ was not baptized to be saved from his sin, but as you say to fulfill righteousness.

Your last point I am a bit confused that there is no baptism in the gospel. I’m not sure I understand your thought as baptism is referenced repeatedly, and specifically by the Lord Himself when he stated to go unto all the world and make disciples of all, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).

So what is confusing in the “Obey” you described earlier? Our Lord says to the apostles to go and baptise the world . Do you say he said this to see if they would simply obey Him, for no other good reason?

Where does the true, cleansing blood of Our Lord come into your thought? The baptism is that: the cleansing of our sin by his blood, being buried and rising to eternal salvation. The blood is life. His life poured out for all. Water does not save us, as Jack types, but the blood of Christ saves us and is represented by the waters of baptism.

Why is there such division in Christianity when baptism is concerned? It bothers me that we all have the tendency to want to be “right”, which lends to Phariseeism. If you or any one else in Christ can give me one scriptural specific that states that the Lord does not want one to be baptized, I need to read it. If any scripture points to the Lord or his apostles stating to stay clear of the cleansing, living waters of baptism, I need to read it.

This should not be any problem for any Christian, but, we are men and want to put our intellect in the way of simplicity.

In the holy name of the Lord Savior, Jesus Christ,
Dan

Jack Wellman February 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Amen Daniel. I think we all need to work at correct doctrine and it is hard work and it takes the Holy Spirit. I disagree that “all covenant writings” speak of the importance of baptism. Indeed, I counted, if memory serves, where baptism is mentioned with salvation about 11 or so times….but salvation without baptism being mentioned is, again, if memory serves, about 123 times! That speaks volumes to me that Christ alone saves but a saved person should be obedient and follow that with baptism. I believe a person would never go to hell, for example, if they were saved and died before they got baptized. Agree? Thank you sir.

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Daniel February 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Jack,

Thanks again!

I know you are full of love because it is evident in the way your write. I appreciate you!

The weakness of man is apparent as there are many who firmly agree/disagree as to the importance of the burial in baptism. I say this in all respect and not to disregard or anger any one of the true faith.
We all read something the way we want to read it, and this is the good reason why we study together: to learn, edify, encourage, and at times, exhort each other to increase our faith, knowledge, and love for one another.

Now to the only question you asked me was to the one of whether one could go to eternal separation from our Father “should he be saved before he is baptized”, but as you understand, I am not in total agreement that one is saved until they are baptized.

Please read Acts 2, and specifically vs.s 38-41, and tell me that baptism in unnecessary for salvation. Also add the directive of the Lord from Matt. 28:19. Once is enough for me and I wouldn’t need reread the Lord’s command. If the Word stopped here, and we had nothing more than the writings of Matthew to the Jews…would it be sufficient? What if the scripture stopped after Acts 2? Sufficient? Why is this even any type of issue? Befuddles my soul. And I know that you have the same bible that I have.

Please don’t tell me that you would need to see the word “baptism” after all the “123 times” to convince such a wise brother, especially where “repent” and “believe” are referenced, that it has importance to salvation.

That said, only the Lord’s will matters in the examples you have typed in the past, such as “the death bed confession” before they could get into the waters.

The Lord God Almighty rules in all matters, and His will be done. Not mine, yours, or any other.

I know that I am saved by the blood of Christ, because of the love of Our Father.

God bless you, Jack.
Dan

ps. What do you think the reason was that John the Baptist’s diciples were re-baptized into the name of Christ, if they already were believers in the Christ? Curious I am for your thoughts.
Thx.

Bettie February 11, 2014 at 6:55 am

Being washed, as in Acts 16:30-34, does not say that the individuals were immersed or near a body of water to immerse in, but as the jailer was cleaning their wounds, then there was baptism, not by water perhaps, but by the Holy Spirit, by the blood of the one true Lamb of God. By the knowledge of giving ones self to God and feeling washed by the Spirit and cleansed by the sacrificed blood of Jesus.

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Don Bladda February 16, 2014 at 1:17 am

I am a new Christian and I just now read your article on baptism and wondered about Acts 2:38. I also thought about your point with the theif on the cross but it occurred to me that Jesus had not died yet so there was no baptism in the name of the father, SON and Holy Spirit.
This is all so confusing, I thighy the bible was supposed to be easy to understand.

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Tim February 21, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Just recently, I had my first, real, one-on-one conversation with a true charismatic. I was a little apprehensive to where the conversation might go. It was the charismatic that asked me right up front – “do you believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and rose again”. Of course I answered “yes”. Amen brother, he said, I will see you in heaven. Now that we have that out of the way, we can talk about anything you want.

In the end, we did not agree on very much, but that was OK. I’ll see you in heaven friend.

Wouldn’t it be absolutely wonderful for the body of Christ if every conversation started out like this?

“Do you believe that Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose again”?
IF so, then amen! I will see you in heaven.

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Jack Wellman February 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Amen….In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.

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Jack November 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Russell. I have been baptized. How can you say I am lost. I obey the gospel and was baptized but baptism never saved me. If we think that we must add baptism to our salvation, we are saying that Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough. How can you condemn me to hell and say I am lost? God alone knows if a person is truly saved or not. You can not look into my heart and make that judgment. Further, how can you say those people who confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are lost too. How do you know? Can you see into their heart? I feel sorry for you that you think this way. God forgive you. I have. Thanks for your comment. I hope you are not depending on baptism for salvation when faith in Christ alone saves.

Yes I get it…and I got it. (Rom 10:9-13).

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Jack November 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Russell commented, “Hey Jack; dont you get it? Those people on there death bed confession are lost, they had their whole lifes to obey the gospel, but chose not to. You likewise jack are in a lost condition because you have not obeyed the gospel, you have not been baptised for the remission of your sins.”

My reply is above mine.

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Vance May 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Being saved is not what you do, but what Christ has already done for us. Please read Ephesians 2:8,9 it is by his Grace NOT anything that we do. If we place our trust (belief, faith) in him he says he gives us his righteousness just like he did Abraham. I often times feel we miss understand the Gospel, please read 1Cor. 15:1-4. The apostle Paul said this is the Gospel that saves, if you believe. (Do You Believe It)?

We also can’t repent of our sins to be saved. Only the shed blood of Christ can do that. Repent or repentance means a change of mind towards Jesus Christ. When we change our mind from unbelief to belief in Christ Jesus he forgives us, and Justified us from ALL our sins. “Justified” (just if ied never sinned). His Grace is sufficient for me. Praise the Lord. May God Bless!

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Vance May 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Being saved is Not what you do, but what Christ has already done for us. Please read Eph. 2:8,9 it is by His Grace not anything that we do. If we place our trust (belief, faith) in him He says he give us his Righteousness just like he did Abraham. I often times feel we miss understand the Gospel, please read 1Cor. 15:1-4. The apostle Paul said this is the Gospel that saves, if you believe. (Do You Believe It)?

We also can’t repent of our sins to be saved. Only the shed blood of Christ can do that. Repent or Repentance means a change of mind towards Jesus Christ. When we change our mind from unbelief to belief in Christ Jesus He forgives us, and Justified us from ALL our sins. “Justified” means (Just if ied never sinned). His Grace is sufficient for me. God Bless!

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Jack Wellman May 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Amen to your comment Vance. This is the true purpose of this article. To reveal the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work of Calvary and that He said “It is finished!” or “paid in full.” Love your definition of Justified. That’s spot on the mark my good friend. God bless you sir for adding to this work so much.

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Jack Wellman February 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Thank you Daniel. Acts 2 says “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Was this water baptism that was spoken of here? It says to be baptized into the “name of Jesus Christ” for the forgiveness of sins. It doesn’t say to be baptized into water in order to be saved but it ties in being saved with being IN Jesus Christ. You said earlier “The baptism is that: the cleansing of our sin by his blood.” What verse and chapter is that? I thought we were cleansed by His blood…not by water! I don’t think Tim or I have “the tendency to want to be “right”, which lends to Phariseeism” but to have correct doctrine is what we are told, commanded to do Titus 1 and 2 Tim 3…are you being any different than we by saying we can only be saved by bapstism
Why again is baptism mentioned with salvation about 11 or so times….but salvation without baptism is mentioned is, again, if memory serves, about 123 times! That speaks volumes to me that Christ alone saves but a saved person should be obedient and follow that with baptism. Do you believe a person that doesn’t get baptized for certain reasons (like a man that was saved who couldn’t be submerged) on his death bed, of the church’ elders father? Was he not saved because he couldn’t be submerged?
For you to use the reasoning “can give me one scriptural specific that states that the Lord does not want one to be baptized” is to argue from silence and so where does Christ actually say that children shouldn’t be raped or beaten? Can you give me one scriptural specific that states that the Lord does not want a child beaten or raped? That is a faulty argument from silence and arguments from silence do not work well with the Word of God. Does Hebrews 10:19-22 and ROMANS 5:9 mean nothing?

“The objection is sometimes raised that to insist that immersion in water is a scriptural condition of salvation equals a doctrine of “water salvation.” If that is the case, then it is such scriptures as Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16, etc., that should be blamed for the teaching, rather than those who believe it. However, such verses attribute no merit to water as a spiritual cleansing agent whatsoever. These verses do not say what the cleansing agent is. They only tell us when the cleansing occurs. It is plain from other scriptures that the blood of Christ is the agent of cleansing or forgiveness (1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5, etc.). The old song is absolutely correct: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Romans 6:3-6 which is how we become united with Christ. We also become clothed with Him when we are baptized into Christ. In being united with Him in this manner, we become one with Him and the shed blood of Christ’s body now comes to cover us also, who are now members of His body.

1 Corinthians 12:27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. Through the sacrifice of Christ’s physical, fleshly body, His blood becomes available.

Hebrews 10:19-22 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

“…since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by …his body,”

It is through Christ’s body that we gain access to His blood.

What is Christ’s body?

Besides 1Corinthians 12:27 quoted above, there are many other places in Scripture that teach the church is a spiritual illustration of the body of Christ.

Why were John’s disciples re-baptized? They were not baptized Into the name of Christ. They were not believers because they didn’t even know about the Holy Spirit and John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5on hearing this, they were baptized INTO the name of the Lord Jesus.

I think we both agree that a person should be baptized once they are saved but what comes first? Salvation? Or baptism?

Reply

Daniel February 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

Good morning, Jack!

You still hang to the which comes first bit, and I hear ya. And you almost got it in your response here, but, you went back to your old stance. Closer.

What is your simple answer to my Matt 28:19 question, that is the Lord telling his apostles to go and baptize?

The church is the body of Christ. You know this to be true.

If John’s baptism was solely for repentance (I agree), then other than reception of a gift from God in the form of the Holy Spirit, what could be the significance in being baptised again in the Lord’s name, seeing that you and others write that baptism is unnecessary for salvation? If it is solely for the purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit, then we mustn’t be considered worthy by the Lord God Almighty of this gift of holiness and salvation without baptism. There must be some extremely important reason…

ACTS 19:1-5

1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

And I was thinking of you and others like you who hang their hat on this topic. Not intending to speak for the Lord here, so please don’t interpret it that way:

What if you have it all wrong, and the day of the Lord is here, and he asks you why you taught what you did the way you did? That if He commanded the Jews of old testament writings with specific laws, very specific written laws, and he only asked that we do what His Son laid out for us: to believe Him, to acknowledge our sinful ways, to change our behavior to eliminate sinful decisions, to be buried in baptism to cleanse us of our sins, and walk with Him, why is this so argued?

I simply don’t understand why.

Look forward to your reply, as previous! Thanks!

With all love and sincerity,
Dan

Reply

Jack Wellman February 21, 2014 at 11:16 am

Thank you Daniel. You will never convince me that it is faith alone in Christ alone plus baptism and you will never convince me so let this end here and may God richly bless you and I look forward to meeting you in heaven some day my friend.

Reply

Daniel February 21, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Thanks, Jack.
I apologize if my questions seem to upset you in any way.
It is not up to me to convince or convict. But it does strike me strange that no one sees the simplicity of the written word we all study.
I also find strange that you won’t answer my simple questions posed. Not trying to “aha” you, but this should be extremely important to all who seek the truth, as your answers could strike a cord in me that would help me to see your ways clearer.
Sorry to have troubled you.
God bless you, your family, and all your readers!
Dan

Reply

Jack Wellman February 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm

No apologies necessary sir. I pray you and your family are blessed greatly by God as in fact we already have been by being born again and I eagerly look forward to seeing you in the Kingdom my brother.

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