Can One Be Baptized Into Christ Believing He Was Saved Before Baptized? – Thomas B. Warren

Thomas B. Warren

Almost all Protestant denominations teach that the alien sinner is saved (becomes a child of God) at the point of faith in Jesus Christ before and without any further act(s) of obedience. The Bible makes clear that this is false doctrine. It can be seen to be false, for a number of reasons.

1. It is false because Jesus said, “Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This means that no one can enter into the kingdom of God without being baptized in the name of Christ (cf. Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-5; Mark 16:15- 16; et al.) If one is baptized (undergoes some religious acts involving water) without understanding that being baptized in the name of Christ is an act of faith which is essential to salvation, then he is not saved, because he has obeyed a mere human doctrine and not the doctrine of Christ. But one must obey Christ to be saved (Heb. 5:8-9; Mat. 7:21-23).

2. It is false because it affirms (by implication) that the alien sinner is saved (becomes a child of God) by a dead faith. Yet, James 2:24-26 teaches that faith without works is dead. Since whatever is dead is powerless, inoperative, unable to accomplish anything, then obviously no one can he saved by faith only (a dead faith). One is saved only when—because of living faith—as penitent believer in Jesus Christ, he is baptized in the name (by the authority of) Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38).

3. It is false because it affirms that one can be saved without doing the will of God. Yet, Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mat. 7:21). One is not saved merely by (1) being religious, (2) being sincere in religion or by (3) crying out, “Lord, Lord.” While all of the above matters are necessary, they are not sufficient.

One is saved either (1) before he is baptized or (2) when he is baptized or (3) after he is baptized. These are the only possibilities, the truth of the matter is: one is saved when (as a penitent believer) he is baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Gal. 3:26-27; etc.) The other two possibilities are false. So, no matter how religious, how sincere, how zealous, and so on a person may be, if he has not been baptized into Christ, then he is not a child of God, he is not a Christian.

Every child of God (that is, every Christian) is a member of the church of Christ (the church described on the pages of the New Testament, the church which Jesus bought with His own blood). There is not one Christian living on earth today who is not a member of that church. Every other church is of human origin and, thus, is not authorized by God. Salvation is only in the church which Jesus bought with His blood (Acts 20:28).

May every person deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Jesus—not men or the doctrines of men (Luke 9:23).

(The Bible Only Makes Christians Only and the Only Christians. Moore, OK: National Christian Press, Inc. 1986, pp. 100-101.)

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