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Question #270

If you have to be baptized to be saved, what happened in the Old Testament?

If you have to be baptized to be saved, what happened in the Old Testament? What about Hebrews 11 where it says Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness? You might want to check up on your New Testament because I'm pretty sure it says not to add to or take away from God's word. Also, if we need to be baptized to be saved, why the heck was Jesus baptized? He didn't need to be saved. It must suck to be you, I really hope your baptism holds up when Jesus comes back, I think you're going to have a lot of explaining to do when He asks you why you misled so many of His children.

The Answer:

Once again we have a question from a person who not only does not know the Scripture; he also knows nothing of the Christian conduct. His vituperative attack seems to be generated by his total inability to respond to that which is presented on this website and his absolute failure to present one specific scripture to demonstrate the falsity of any position that this website has presented.

I do not overlook his suggestion that I consider Abraham. However, I fail to understand how he would ever expect to find out the purpose of baptism by studying passages that never mention it. He apparently doesn’t understand the difference between the Old Testament and the New because he seems to think that since no one was baptized in the Old Testament no one needs to be baptized under the New Testament. But since he mentioned it, maybe he should begin by considering the use that Peter made of it in 1 Pet. 3:20-21 when, using the example of Noah, he said that baptism saves us. (Just to avoid another personal attack let me hasten to add that Peter did not say and the Bible does not teach that baptism only saves.) If that is not sufficient, perhaps he should consider 1 Cor. 10:1-2 where Paul said that the Israelites were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.

Of course, he is correct when he says that nothing must be added or taken away from God’s word. That being the case, it is strange that he wants to take away that which Christ has commanded in order to have sins washed away. Acts 22:16. Apparently this writer would rather criticize than study scripture. Perhaps if he is going to argue that baptism has been “added,” he ought to begin by explaining who put in all of the passages that we have cited in support of the truth that baptism is an essential step in one’s salvation. No one connected with this website put a single one of them in the Bible. If you want to argue about who has added to the word of God, perhaps you could cite for me the scripture where I could find the Sinner’s Prayer. When you have found that passage, then find for me a single passage that says that we are saved by faith ONLY. In fact, find one passage for me that says that we are saved by anything ONLY. By the way, in the one place that “faith only” does appear in the scripture, have you taken out the “not” that precedes it? James 2:24.

As for your second question, to learn why Jesus was baptized, that is clearly set forth on the website. See, Questions and Answers, No. 60.

Finally, It really doesn’t “suck” (your language, not mine) to be me. I have done what the Lord commanded in the way that he commanded it for the purpose that he commanded it, and, as a baptized penitent believer, God removed my sins by the blood of his Son, added me to the church, and I have laid hold on his promises. Life is wonderful, and the life hereafter will be Heaven! I pray that you will set your prejudice and anger aside, follow the scripture, and be saved at last.

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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

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)