Salvation or regeneration is predicated on one thing and one thing alone—that is, believe in Jesus Christ. This means a person in an aircraft that is about to crash can repent or turn the heart to believe in Jesus for his or her soul to be saved and God will hear their heart’s prayer and save the soul from eternal condemnation and punishment in hell, though they may die in the crash.
The fact the person is not baptized in water will not nullify the person’s regeneration (baptism into Christ Gal 3:27, Eph 4:5, 1 Pet 3:18-22). However, it does not cancel the truth that baptism in water is a commandment from God. The truth that this command is not a prerequisite for salvation does not diminish its importance. Jesus obeyed it Matt 3:13-16 and so must every believer whom God gives the opportunity (to remain on the earth after being regenerated).
The thought here is this, baptism in water is an important outward symbolism of the unseen death and resurrection (regeneration) of a believer. What it symbolizes or represents detail how it should be done (by immersion). Given it is a command from God and its importance, refusing to obey it will pass as lawlessness (or sheer disobedience). Being adamant to obey this God’s command could possibly be pointing to an absence of regeneration (the replacing of the heart of stone with the heart of flesh) and a conscience sprinkled by the Blood of redemption (Christ).
One of the responsibilities given to the body of Christ by Christ is, “baptizing them (those that come to believe the gospel) in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” (signifying the three that wroth the work of salvation in the person) Matt 28:19. However, because salvation is given in the name of Jesus Christ alone Acts 4:12, if baptism is done in His name alone is done in the stead of the trinity. So, there is no difference Acts 2:38. The Father is perfectly pleased in the Son and the Holy Spirit perfectly works in accord with the Son even resurrecting Him to be the author and finisher of salvation.
The only basis for baptizing a believer is upon their own confession or profession of faith. Subtle or overt investigation is not required. In Acts 10:24 and 44, Cornelius gathered his kinsmen and friends who were not necessarily believers but when they believed, they were immediately baptized in the Holy Spirit in one stretch. Then, Peter, knowing that some of the brothers who came with him where yet to grow up and out from institutional mentality said this, “Can anyone object to their being baptized now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” Acts 10:45 and 47.
Religious institutions have long been a stumbling block to the simple but profound ways of God. Unfortunately, the same problem is still with us today. Based on human experience of people who pretend to believe while they don’t, investigation (queries of a proof of salvation have) long been instituted in church organizations. Well, given that organizational ethos or dogmas maintain human pride, help push our objective to make Christianity attractive and bring in people into our enclaves; repentance “to God’s ancient ways” may come hard. God help us!
The all wise, loving and faithful Creator of the world and mankind has predicated salvation on what is at the reach of all—which is, faith and the grace of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Faith, which all mankind have enables us to believe though many pitiably put theirs elsewhere.
In Romans 10:10KJV, we are told, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom 4:3KJV makes the same announcement, “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Then, Mark 16:16KJV says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
We note that believing is done not with the mouth but the heart and it gives righteousness or imputed righteousness (Christ’s life- salvation) and the mouth is used to declare it. Also, in verse 16 of Mark 16, “but” is introduced to indicate that baptism is consequential rather than a basis for salvation.
Therefore, believing in Christ Jesus is entirely sufficient for the saving of the soul to the utmost. The scriptures repeatedly and vehemently warn believers to continue to believe or abide in Christ. All good deeds must proceed from the imputed deed of Christ within the believer else, it’s a filthy rag. So then, baptism in water must be an act of faith based on the circumcision of the heart Rom 2:29KJV. Hebrews 11:6 says “And it is impossible to please God without faith”… Romans 14:23NLT affirms it by saying, “…For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin”.
In conclusion, looking at James 2: 14-19, we know that faith here speaks of having Christ—our imputed righteous. Who Himself, authenticates His presence both to God and man with evidence of His fruit. In other words, He continues to do with any temple (body) He lives in, the same things He did while He was physically on the earth. He is the gift or the fleshy heart which believing has given His people.
Those with fleshy heart (believers) possess the most expensive gift on earth and in the heavens apportioned to humans. Therefore, they love to submit to God. It is their default spiritual disposition though they may occasionally stumble Rev 2:5. But, because it is not their new heart’s nature to rebel against God; they fall back quickly to His propitiation as the Spirit corrects, disciplines, revives and restores graciously 1 John 2:1, 1:9, Heb 12:7-8.
We gladly proclaim as in Rom 6:4, and Col 2:12, “we’re dead, buried and risen with Him” praise God. Let us also gladly show it in joyful obedience through being baptized in water to the praise and glory of His Holy Name! Amen.