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Question #382

What about all the verses that don’t mention baptism?

Here are a few Scriptures that tell the SIMPLE story of the gift of salvation; John 1;12,Acts 13;39,Acts 16;31,Rom 3;22,Rom 4;11,24 Rom 10;9 1 Cor 1;21 Gal 2;22 Heb 10;39 1Jh 5;13 Acts !3;48 Acts 14;23 Rom 4;3 Gal 2;16 Gal 3;6 Eph 1;13 James 2;23 Acts 6;14 Jh 11;25,26 Jh 3;15,16,18,36 Jh 5;24 Jh 6;35,40,47 Jh 7;38 Jh 11;26 Jh 12;46 Acts 10;43 Rom 1;16 Rom 3;26 Rom 4;5 Rom 9;33 Rom 10;4 Rom 10;10 1Jh 5;1,5,10 Jh 20;31 Help me to understand that believing in these scriptures listed above do not include baptism. Example: Jonn 3;15 That whoever believeth in Him(and is baptized) should not perish,but have eternal life. John 3:15 are the very words of Jesus him self.Shall we add and is "baptized" so we can have eternal life.I'm going to take Jesus's word for it.

The Answer:

It is tempting to not answer this question since all of the passages listed have been discussed in these answers at one time or another. Apparently the inquirer does not want to study the issue by studying the material on this website that relates to and answers his inquiry. He simply wants to make a long list of scriptures that he believes support his position that baptism is not essential to salvation. The foolishness of his approach is demonstrated in several ways.

  1. He doesn’t even attempt to justify the conclusion that he reached allegedly based upon the verses listed. A reasoning person would take each verse, discuss it in context and in light of the teaching of all scripture related to forgiveness and the remission of sins.

  2. He makes the illogical and tragic mistake of trying to establish what baptism is not for by listing verses that speak to faith and make no mention of baptism at all. Would he be so foolish as to attempt to establish what cars are not for by reading only information relating to horses? Probably not, but that does show how false his approach and his premise are.

  3. He makes the logical error of reaching a conclusion that is not supported by a single verse in his list. His position is that man is saved by faith alone and not a single verse in his list uses that expression. While one is tempted to say that there is no verse anywhere else in scripture that uses the expression “faith only,” however that is not true. It is true that there is no verse anywhere else in scripture that the expression “faith only” in a positive sense. The one verse where the expression has a “not” in front of it – “not by faith only” (James 2:24).

  4. He makes the mistake of completely ignoring passages that address baptism and its purpose, and makes no attempt to reconcile them. Could it be that, having his mind made up, he doesn’t want to be confronted with the facts?

  5. Finally, and eternally harmful, is that fact that he does not believe the words of Jesus. He wants to know if we should add “and is baptized” to the statements of Jesus. He asks that question because he knows that adding to scripture is a phrase that will create bias since adding to scripture is prohibited. On the other hand, so is taking away from scripture. Both of us believe that both adding to and taking away from scripture is wrong. The question is who is guilty of that error. Mark 16:15-16 clearly demonstrates that it is our inquirer: “15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” It is Jesus who added “and is baptized.” One who does not believe could not be baptized if he would and would not be baptized if he could. Unfortunately, our inquirer falls into this category. He reminds me of a lady with whom I had a conversation at a booth sponsored by New Testament Christians at the New York “World’s Fair.” She also believed that salvation was by “faith only” and that baptism was not necessary. I suggested that 1 Peter 3:21 spoke only of baptism in relation with salvation, and that what we needed to do was not to create a contradiction between verses on faith and verses on baptism, but to reconcile them as Jesus did in Mark 16 when he said that “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” She responded that Jesus did not say that. I handed her a Bible, asked her to turn to Mark 16, and read. Having read it aloud she asserted, “That is just your opinion.” I reminded her that I had not said a word, but that she had read the passage and reached the conclusion on her own. She handed me the Bible and responded as she walked away, “I don’t care.” That is where our inquirer stands – he has his mind made up and he doesn’t care! The last part of Jesus statement in Mark 16:16 applies to him – “He that believeth not shall be damned (condemned).” His statement that he will “take Jesus word for it” is far from true. He has taken his own word and it is only upon his own word that he depends for his eternal salvation.

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)