#1 Salvation and Baptism
What must I do to be saved?
Today we all ask the same question as those asked Jesus’ day two thousand years ago. Acts 2:37-41. While all otherworldly religions require good works to be saved, the gospels of Jesus Christ lighten our burden by faith alone in Him. We can’t save ourselves. All biblical stories in the Bible show that all sinned and were utterly dependent on God for all their blessings, including being delivered from all the challenges faced as God’s people.
The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, sinned while living with God in the perfect place on Earth in the Garden of Eden. They had no reason to sin. But they disobeyed God’s sole command, do not eat from a single tree of knowledge of good and evil, or ye shall die. Genesis 2:17. Adam and Eve had no stress in life, no struggles, and no predators while living in their perfect environment. Yet, Eve listened to Satan and disobeyed God to change their relationship with God forever and create a fallen world. Man has struggled in all things and has been battling Satan and his earthly minions in spiritual warfare ever since.
No other religious doctrine acknowledges that Satan exists while believing that evil does. Even if Judaism and Islam claim to believe in Satan, they reject Christ as God, the one who is greater than Satan. Christianity is not a religion but faith in things unseen and unknown to modern believers through the acts of Jesus Christ in the flesh and the Word of God in the Bible.
All other established religions don’t require anyone to face their sins and repent to confirm in the image of God, we were created to be. Genesis 1:27.
The Bible shows us that we are all sinners and destined to die in judgment for our sins. “For the wages of sins is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 KJV. Thus, The history written in the Bible tells us that God created everything and gave us a perfect world to live in harmony with God. Everything he made was good. Genesis 1:31. But our sins destroyed that direct relationship with God and this world, destined to die mind, body, and soul. Yet, God gave us a way out to send his Son, Jesus Christ, and a plan for our redemption in Him.
Jesus was born as a man but as God in the flesh to show us that He was sinless. He rejected Satan’s attempt to corrupt Him onto himself. He was here to do His father’s business on earth and to save all humanity by faith in Him. “No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:18 MEV. The most famous verse is “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 MEV. “He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18 MEV.
Christianity is Christ-centered, not self-centered: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 MEV. Salvation encompasses what God has done for us, not what we can do for Him. God has taken the initiative in His plan of redemption, reaching out to us through Christ. Hence, the answer to our salvation, as given by Paul and Silas was, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved.” Acts 16:31 MEV.
Although we are saved by grace, our salvation requires repentance – a sincere willingness to change our behavior radically. See Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 6:12; Luke 13:3-5; and Acts 2:38. Even in Acts 1:3, NIV, for instance, observes Christ, “after his suffering, he showed himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive,” In Acts 26:25 NIV, Paul states that his Christian beliefs are “true and reasonable.” While our salvation only requires faith in Jesus Christ, then why baptism?
Is Baptism required to be saved?
This topic has created much confusion among professing Christians and arguments among brothers and sisters despite making it plain to those who believe. At the same time, the Bible tells us that our salvation is received by faith alone in John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, and Titus 3:5. However, in Mark 16:16, baptism is required to be saved. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16 KJV. Thus, those verses must have a different meaning as the Scripture does not contradict the Scripture.
The true sense of Baptism depicts a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4 NIV declares, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” The symbolic steps of being immersed in the water illustrate dying and being buried with Christ—the steps of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.
Baptism was also the means of making a decision public. Those who refused to be baptized were saying they did not truly believe. So, in the minds of the apostles and early disciples, the idea of an un-baptized believer was unheard of. When a person claimed to believe in Christ yet was ashamed to proclaim his faith publicly, it indicated that he did not have true faith.
In many verses, the act of baptism was carried out in the name of Christ as proof of their public commitment to Christ and repentance:
“After these things came to Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.” John 3:22 KJV;
“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 KJV;
“For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 8:16 KJV;
“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” Acts 10:48 KJV;
“And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” Acts 18:8 KJV;
“Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 19:4-5 KJV;
“And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Acts 22:16 KJV;
“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27 KJV; and
“John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” Mark 1:4 KJV.
Baptism is associated with repentance and is a symbol of receiving true salvation as a faithful believer in Christ.
You can receive Christ's true salvation and everlasting joy. God promises to protect and provide for us in this life and offers His free gift of eternal life, John 3:16. Don’t delay your salvation and joy in Him. Your salvation requires faith and true repentance, as baptism symbolizes a public commitment of faith.
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