“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47)
I use this verse often when conversing with someone who denies the sufficiency of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, and they are rarely from what one would consider a works-based religious organization. Instead, their words outside of this context speak of one who does indeed love the Lord, who desires to be pleasing in His sight, who understands much of the Scriptures, but one who cannot be swayed from the notion that if one is not baptized, one is not saved.
Acts 2:38 is generally the first defense they will bring up, along with James 2:14, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”
What they do not realize is that what they are saying is the Jesus Christ was not good enough to save them on His own, by His own actions, that He fell short of the glory of God and without them performing some deed, most generally baptism, His sacrifice was in vain.
1st Peter 2:24 is not enough for them to see their error. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 will not sway them.
“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” Hebrews 10:12 will not be heard as truth by them.
I feel sorry for these people, because for the entirety of their life they will either wonder if they performed the supposed necessary deed correctly, if they said the right words, if the intent of their heart was acceptable to the Almighty so He could add it to the sacrifice of His Son and then call them born-again. Either that, or pride will enter into their heart, for they will feel that because they performed the necessary requirement imposed upon them, mistakenly I must add here, by the Living God, they need not be concerned with following Him, the deed was done, and they did their part.
My friends, you must understand this truth, it is imperative and will determine where you will spend eternity, if you believe that the price our Lord paid on the cross was not enough in the eyes of the Most High God, if you believe that you must be baptized to be saved, you are not saved and you will not be going to heaven.
This is no minor infraction; this is not a misunderstanding that the Almighty will overlook. If you do not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ paid it all, you are not saved.
Our opening verse in this short letter is used often by myself and others as well I am quite sure, for Peter would not allow Cornelius and his family to be baptized until after he was sure they had received the Holy Spirit.
“And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.” 1st Corinthians 1:16 is always quite effective to bring up, for if baptism was essential to salvation, Paul would not only have spoken quite differently in the context, but would have admonished others regularly and with great frequency about the importance of being baptized, and he did not.
The Roman Catholic cult has built their foundations on lies such as this, and sadly many places that profess Jesus Christ as Lord have also, many Evangelical churches my friends do not know the Savior because of this.
If someone professes to accept Christ, but dies before they have a chance to be baptized, do they go to hell?
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)