"He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned." This is such a simple command to obey in the way the Lord says to do it. Notice the divine order: 1) Believe, 2) Baptism, 3) Saved. Jesus says that both belief and baptism are required to be saved. But men, at the prompting of Satan, are trying to tell us many other different things that are contrary to what Jesus says. Men have taken what the Lord said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved," and have changed it in every way possible to suit themselves. The following is what Jesus says and also ways in which man has tried to change what the Lord has said.Jesus says in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved."
2) There are those who in reality say that, "He that does not believe and is not baptized will be saved," because they say God is going to save everyone. This is the Universalist who says that everyone is going to be saved and no one is going to be lost. We know this is not true because of what our Lord said in Matthew 7:13-14, that many are going to be lost and only few are going to be saved.
3) Then there are others who essentially say that, "He who believes and is baptized will not be saved." They say that no one is going to be saved. This is the Atheist who says that there is not going to be an eternity and that when you are dead, you are like the dog Rover, you are dead all over. But again we know that this is false. We have already seen that few will be saved, but the majority will be lost.
4) Still others imply that, "He who does not believe but is baptized will be saved." These are those who practice infant baptism, but an infant certainly cannot believe. Of course an infant is not accountable but is innocent and is not lost.
5) Then there are also those who essentially say that, "He who believes and is not baptized will be saved." They are trying to tell us that we are saved by faith only and that baptism is not necessary to be saved, but all that you have to do is believe. Again, like the other three, this is contrary to what the Lord has said in Mark 16:16, "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." On the day of judgment we are only going to be judged by what the Lord says and not by what we think.
Who are you following? Are you following 1) Jesus, 2) the Universalist, 3) the Atheist, 4) those promoting infant baptism, or 5) those promoting faith only? We can go to heaven only by following what Jesus says and not what man says. The following chart shows what the Lord has said and also the many ways that men have tried to change it. They have changed it every way possible to suit themselves.
Jesus in Mark 16:16 says: Believe + Baptized = Saved
Universalist says: Not Believe + Not Baptized = Saved
Atheist says: Believe + Baptized = Not Saved
Infant Baptism says: Not Believe + Baptized = Saved
Faith Only says: Believe + Not Baptized = Saved
When we stand before the Lord on the day of judgment to be judged by him, there are going to be many who have chosen not to do what the Lord has said. Rather they have chosen to do what man has said to do. Romans 10:3 tells us that people are "Seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God." The choice is ours. Either we have tried to establish our own righteousness or we have submitted to the righteousness of God. We make the decision; but we will reap the eternal consequences. Are you ready for those consequences?
The Lord says in John 12:48, "The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." We are not going to be judged by what man says or by what we think, but by what our Lord says. This is going to be the standard for judgment.
For the majority of people, the judgment will be a horrible day, and a day of many terrible surprises. Obedience to our Lord will save any lost person, no matter how evil his past has been, but obedience to a mere human doctrine will not save anyone, no matter how good they have been. Speaking of Christ Hebrews 5:9 says, "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him." Yes, we must obey our Lord, if we expect Him to save us.
Baptism is not a work that man does. Baptism is God's chosen way of imparting His saving grace. Baptism is the submission to the command of God that saves. As we read in Acts 10:48, "And He commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord." God offers salvation to all men, but He conditions that offer with obeying the requirements which He has set out in His word. The Lord has commanded us to be baptized. The Lord has no nonessential commands. In Hebrews 5:9 we saw that no man can be saved by the grace of God without being obedient to the will of God. Believing and being baptized to be saved, as Mark 16:16 says, does not nullify the grace of God, but it activates it. The fact that baptism is essential to our salvation in no way reflects upon the wonderful grace offered to all; but rather it honors Christ who commanded it. Baptism is a very serious matter. According to the Bible, baptism is for the purpose of salvation. Satan does not want anyone to be baptized for the purpose of being saved. Satan tells people that after you think you are saved and your sins are forgiven then you can be baptized. But this is a lie of Satan which will cause many people to be lost. We cannot afford to be wrong on this vital point. Our eternal destiny depends on our being right with God.
Return to the Question/Answer Index
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /