Question #257

Will the unbaptized be saved?

I'm concerned about my daughter who has been attending church of Christ with a friend and the beliefs she has been taught. I am a Christian. I was baptized in the Lutheran faith as an infant. I believe in God, believe I have been saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and lead a Christian life. I believe there are many believers that are not members of the church of Christ who I will see someday in heaven whether they are Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists or other denominations. Does the church of Christ believe that members of other Christian religions that have not had full immersion and are not a member of the church of Christ will not be saved?

The Answer:

Let me direct your attention to the answers to Questions 148 and 223 were this issue is addressed. Let me add that it is beyond dispute that there was a church of Christ in the days of the New Testament, that it was not a denomination, and that those who belonged to it constituted the saved. That church still exists. Listen to the audio of the sermon, “The Undenominational Nature of the Church,” on this website. The issue is not whether you sincerely believe that all is well with your soul, the issue is whether you can support that which you believe by the word of God by which you shall be judged. John 12:48. Not every one who says unto Him, “Lord, Lord,” will be saved, but he who does the will of God. Matthew 7:21-27. As for baptism, and infant baptism in particular, you should study Class: Question, Lesson 3. There is also a section on The Lord’s Church that you will find helpful. When you have reviewed these and any others on this website that you desire, let us hear from you again. You may find that your daughter has a new found respect for God’s Word and wishes to follow it. I pray that you will as well.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)