I was talking with a guy the other day about salvation. He informed me that he did not agree with my stand on salvation. I had made a comment to another guy that one can't be saved by baptism. This guy didn't like that. In fact, he sent me a list of verses that talk about baptism and salvation. Here are a few of the verses:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. - Mark 16:16
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. - Acts 2:38
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. - Acts 22:16
Now, I understand that some of these verses do sound like they're saying that you must be baptized in order to be saved, but that's simply not so. Salvation comes from faith in Christ and acceptance of His shed blood on Calvary. That's it. If you add anything to it or take anything from it, you're distorting God's plan.
I asked this guy what he thought about the thief on the cross. Obviously he didn't have a chance to be baptized, yet Jesus said, "Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise." He replied, "I think the Scriptures speak for themselves." I do too.
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 3:16
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. - John 1:12
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. - Acts 13:38-39
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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 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. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. - Romans 10:9-13
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. - Ephesians 2:8-9
Okay, I could go on, but I'll stop there. Did you see anything in any of those verses about baptism being a necessary part of salvation? No? I didn't either. Why? Because it isn't. The last verse spells it out very clearly. Salvation is a gift of God. It is through faith. It is not of works. In other words, it can not be obtained by anything that we do, including baptism. In my mind, if we say that salvation requires both faith and baptism, we're basically saying that Jesus' blood is not good enough or strong enough to save us. We have to be baptized to "help Him out." That's not what the Bible says.
Be careful when studying Scripture. Sometimes we will come across verses that sound like they're saying one thing when we know that it's not true. The Bible is not in error, nor does it contradict itself. When in doubt, compare Scripture with Scripture. Study the context of the verse. It is application or interpretation? If you're still unsure, talk to your pastor or someone you know who is very mature in their spiritual walk. Pray and ask God to reveal the meaning to you. But whatever you do, please don't take the word of someone just because they throw a couple of verses at you and say, "See, the Bible says so." Study it out for yourself. God will show you the truth.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. - II Timothy 3:16-17
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