Question #120

Why can't you see that baptism is not needed and that we can't lose our salvation?

I am wanting to share the truth about what the Bible says about Salvation and to prove to you that baptism is not needed and that we can't lose our salvation. Please reply and let me know if you are willing to hear the truth, cause I will gladly share it with you so please if you would like to send me verses that you believe tell us that we need to be baptized and that we can lose our salvation. And give me something other than Peter's sermon in acts for your false belief about needing baptism.

The Answer:

This answer applies to both Question 120 and Question 215.

Before addressing the issues raised in these two comments (they are really not questions), some observations are in order.

1. While believing that Thy Word Is Truth teaches error, both writers grant that Thy Word Is Truth is sincere in its approach to and understanding of Scripture. In other words, Thy Word Is Truth is sincere, but sincerely mistaken. Their acknowledgement is appreciated and returned. Both of their writings display sincerity. Unfortunately, a sincere person who is sincerely mistaken about God’s will will be lost. Those described in Matthew 7:21-29 were so sincere that they were disputing the Lord’s judgment that they were lost. This being true, the issues raised here are eternal in nature. As the author of Question 215 recognizes, at least one of us is in error and in that error we cannot be saved.

2. Thy Word is Truth prays that it will always be ready to expound the Scripture in the right spirit. Colossians 4:6; 1 Peter 3:15. This does not mean that answers will be less than plain and direct. Answers that are less than that are not given in love; it is not love to “soften” the scripture so that people will not be “offended.” However, “plain and direct” does not include mean-spirited, insulting, and deliberately offensive. Even the right can be wrongly proclaimed. Put differently, it is just as wrong to teach the truth in an unchristian manner as it is to teach error in the kindest of language.

3. Both of these writers spoke their positions firmly, even to the extent of saying that this writer is in an error that has eternal consequences. No offense was intended; none was taken. They spoke because they believed they had a God-given duty to do so and because they were interested in our salvation. As such, their comments were appreciated.

4. Discussion of the Scripture is always beneficial when done with an open and honest mind. The emails here under discussion have been read with care to search for the basis of the conclusions contained. Those conclusions have been carefully considered. They are rejected as error for the following reasons. It is hoped that the writers will respond with a full discussion of these reasons, specifically addressing the arguments made and the discussions reached. As demonstrated below, the greatest weakness of both is that broad assumptions are made which are either wrong on their face, false in their logic, or unsupported by reason.

Now let’s address the issues raised. Though much is said in the two emails, the issues break down basically to two:

1. Is baptism essential to salvation or is it a work in the sense of Ephesians 2:8-10?

2. Can a saved person lose salvation? This issue is sometimes referred to as “once saved, always saved” or “the eternal security of the saints.” Put in the form of a proposition it may be stated, “Can a Christian so sin as to be eternally lost?”

One response has already been sent directly to the author of Question 120. He asked that scriptures be sent supporting the proposition that baptism was essential to salvation and that a Christian could lose his salvation. He admonished that scriptures relating to baptism not include Acts 2:38. His reason for that exclusion was not stated. It could have been because he already had that passage and did not need it to be included. It could also have been because, already having the passage, he recognized that it did in fact teach that baptism was “for the remission of sins” and wanted to know if there was any other passage(s) upon which the necessity of baptism for salvation was based. His email certainly did not contain any discussion of the meaning of the passage. Obviously, one passage is enough. God does not have to state a command two or more times for it to be a command. Should anyone so contend they will need to find some scripture that says so. In fact, if they contend that “once is not enough,” they will need to find two or more passages that say so! The response that was sent directed the writer to the Question and Answer section of Thy Word Is Truth were numerous discussions of his very issues were discussed, asked him to consider those discussions and arguments, and then respond to them. He was assured that his response would then be considered. For the full response see Questions & Answers # 109. TO DATE HE HAS BEEN SILENT. His silence could be that he has not had sufficient time. More than likely he recognized that he had no response and chose to be silent. If the reason is indeed the latter, an honest mind would bow to the will of God and, based upon a penitent faith, be immersed for the remission of sins into the body of Christ.

The author of #215 has taken the same approach. He had obviously read at least some of the material on baptism on Thy Word Is Truth because he understood that it taught that immersion for the remission of sins was essential to salvation and characterized that teaching as “wooden,” whatever that means. Unfortunately, he chose not to respond directly to any of those discussions and defenses of what was taught, choosing rather to respond with broad assertions and unfounded assumptions, most of which are false. Here are some of them:

1. Thy Word is Truth teaches “baptismal regeneration.”

2. Baptism is a work within the meaning of Ephesians 2:8-10.

3. Baptism is a command that every Christian ought to follow. [This assertion sounds truthful, but we shall see that the order is wrong. This assertion is that one who is a Christian ought to be baptized.]

4. All Bible believers believe that salvation is by faith alone, sole fide, not by works.

5. Salvation must not in any part depend on man.

6. Baptism to be saved is reliance on baptism for salvation.

7. Baptism to be saved diminishes God’s Glory and grace.

8. Thy Word Is Truth’s interpretation of verses is “wooden.”

9. Thy Word Is Truth failed to compare scripture with scripture.

10. Thy Word Is Truth’s understanding of Eph. 2:8-10 and Acts 2:38 makes those passages contradictory.

11. God’s mercy is extended to those who do not do the will of the Father.

First, let’s look at baptismal regeneration. The writer either does not understand baptismal regeneration or he does not understand Thy Word Is Truth’s teaching, or both. Thy Word Is Truth neither believes nor teaches baptismal regeneration. This confusion is not that unusual since baptismal regeneration means different things to different people. Some use the expression in an inflammatory method (whether intended or not) to intimidate those who believe that baptism is a part of the regeneration process. Still others understand it as a “sacrament” of the church which has an innate power (the power resides in the act of baptism itself and requires nothing beyond the act of baptism) to cleanse a sinner of sin independent of personal faith and a penitent submission to God’s scheme of redemption.

The Roman Catholic church actually teaches baptismal regeneration – baptism itself saves the soul even when administered to infants. Donald Attwater’s A Catholic Dictionary, defines baptism as:

A sacrament of the New Law instituted by Jesus Christ, in which, as a result of washing with water accompanied by the words, ‘I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,’ a human being is spiritually regenerated, and made capable of receiving the other sacraments.

This view involves the concept that baptism need not be accompanied by faith or personal surrender to the Lord. This concept is further stated by comments from the same source:

Baptism of the insane may be lawfully performed if such a desire has been expressed in a lucid interval, or in imminent danger of death if, before losing reason, a desire had been manifested. Those who have been insane from birth, or since before attaining the use of reason, may at any time be baptized as infants.

Baptism of the unborn. If there is not a probable hope that a child can be baptized after birth, Baptism may be administered in the womb: in the case of a head presentation, on the head; in other presentation of the part presented, but then it has to be again baptized conditionally if it is living on complete delivery. Should the mother die in labour, the child is to be extracted from the womb and, if certainly living, baptized absolutely; if life is doubtful, conditionally. An aborted fetus must also be baptized, unconditionally or conditionally according to the circumstances.

This doctrine of baptismal regeneration has no support in Scripture. There is nothing in Scripture that even remotely suggests that there is something that is inherent either in the water of baptism or the act of baptism that removes sin and regenerates the sinner. On the other hand, the scripture clearly teaches that immersion in water that is accompanied by faith (Mark 16:16) and repentance (Acts 2:38) is a part of the regenerative process, a necessary part of being born again. Immersion in water that is not accompanied (preceded) by faith and repentance has no validity.

This principle is illustrated in other passages of scripture. (1) In 2 Kings 5 scripture records the experience of Naaman and his cleansing from leprosy. To be cleansed, Elisha commanded Naaman to “wash” in the Jordan River. After at first refusing, Naaman thought better, obeyed the command, and was cleansed. Was there healing power in the water? Was there any suggestion that Naaman somehow trusted in the river? Would any rational person contend that Naaman had somehow “earned” or “merited” his cleansing? Isn’t what happened that Naaman believed the Prophet, believed in the God of the Prophet, repented of at first refusing, and upon his submission to the Divine command was cleansed by God. (2) John 9 records Jesus encounter with a man born blind. Jesus anointed the blind man’s eyes and commanded him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. He went, he washed, and he was healed. What if he had reasoned, “If I go and wash that will suggest that I am trusting in the water. I don’t believe in ‘washing regeneration.’ I cannot merit my sight. I will simply trust in Jesus’ power to heal and I will wash in the Pool of Siloam after I have received my sight.” All reasonable people know what the result would have been – the man born blind would have died blind! Instead, he obeyed the command, trusting not in Siloam but in the Savior who had commanded him to wash there, and he was cleansed. It was not something that he earned or merited. It was something he received from the Lord upon having complied with the Lord’s conditions to receive the blessing.

We plead with you to read with an open mind and without preconceived notions what the scripture says about baptism.

PASSAGE / ACT / RESULT

Mark 16:16 / Baptized / Saved

John 3:5 / Born of Water / Enter Kingdom

Acts 2:38 / Baptized / Remission of Sins

Acts 22:26 / Baptized / Wash Away Sins

Rom. 6:3 / Baptized / Into Jesus Christ / Into His Death

Rom. 6:4 / Baptized / Into Death / Newness of Life

1 Cor. 6:11 / Washed / Sanctified, Justified

1 Cor. 12:13 / Baptized / Into One Body

Gal. 3:27 / Baptized / Into Christ / Put On Christ

Eph. 5:26 / Washing of Water / Sanctified and Cleansed

Col. 2:12 / Buried in Baptism / Risen Through Faith in the Operation of God

Titus 3:5 / Washing of Regeneration / Saved

1 Pet. 3:21 / Baptism / Saves

2. Is baptism is a work within the meaning of Ephesians 2:8-10.

The last passage is also instructive on whether baptism (the washing of regeneration) is a work within the meaning of Eph. 2:8-10: ”But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7. Paul, who wrote Ephesians 2:8-10 plainly teaches here that one who is saved by the washing of regeneration is not saved by works of righteousness that he has done. In fact God’s mercy (grace) was active in saving us through the washing of regeneration. Man’s washing did not diminish his mercy or grace; it rejoiced in its operation and the resulting renewal in the Holy Spirit.

God’s language is too clear to be misunderstood by honest minds. Ephesians 2 and Acts 2 are not contradictory. When a penitent believer is baptized for the remission of his sins it is the grace of God that saves him. Nothing is earned or merited. Perhaps this is a good place to urge the reader to go to the class material on “Thought Provoking Questions,” lesson 3 on baptism. You should read it all, but in connection with this alleged contradiction the material beginning on page 17 is especially apropos.

3. Is baptism is a command that every Christian ought to follow?

In a word, no. Nowhere in scripture is a Christian commanded to be baptized. Baptism is commanded of those who have not had their sins washed away. See the above chart. Baptism ALWAYS precedes the forgiveness of sins, the washing away of sins, coming into Christ, coming into the body, coming into the Kingdom of God’s dear son, putting on Christ, being saved. The fact that no person who is in the body of Christ was ever commanded to be baptized is very instructive. See, Lesson 3, Thought Provoking Questions.

4. All Bible believers believe that salvation is by faith alone, sole fide, not by works.

There is only one passage in all of scripture that mentions “faith alone [only]” – James 2:24: “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” The truth is that Scripture says that man is saved by many things, including baptism. 1:Peter 3:21. The Scripture never says that man is saved by anything only. Scripture does speak of a group that believed in God but had nothing but faith – “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19.

Scripture speaks of seven causes of justification: justified by faith, Rom. 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:24; justified freely by His grace, Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7; justified by His blood, Rom. 5:9; justified by works, James 2:21, 24-25; justified in or by the name of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 6:11; justified by Christ, Gal. 2:16. Since all of these are causes or means of justification, which of them is non-essential? We certainly recognize in life that there may be more than one cause of an event, without any one of which the event would not have occurred. But how do these causes work together and what role do they play? Consider the following: GRACE is the moving cause; CHRIST is the efficient cause; His BLOOD is the procuring cause; KNOWLEDGE is the disposing cause; the NAME OF THE LORD JESUS is the immediate cause; FAITH is the formal cause; WORKS is the concurring cause.

Suppose a man sees a ship in distress far from shore. Moved by pure philanthropy, he dispatches his son with a boat to save the sailors. When the boat arrives at the distressed ship, the son invites them in on one condition – that they submit to his guidance. A number of the sailors reach out, seize the boat, and spring into it. Under the son’s guidance they grab the oars and row to land. Other sailors, some from fear and others because of the difficulty of getting in the son’s boat, wait in expectation of a second trip. That trip never comes and they perish. The MOVING CAUSE was the good will of the father; the EFFICIENT CAUSE was the son who took the boat; the PROCURING CAUSE was the boat itself; the DISPOSING CAUSE was the knowledge of their perishing condition and the son’s invitation; the IMMEDIATE CAUSE was the seizing of the boat with their hands and springing into it; the FORMAL CAUSE was consenting to the son’s condition; the CONCURRING CAUSE was the sailors’ rowing to shore under the guidance of the son.

With the principle of multiple causes established, what does the Scripture say about the cause(s) of our salvation. Though different words are used, we are said to be saved by as many causes as those to which our justification is attributed: saved by GRACE; Eph. 2:5; saved THROUGH HIS LIFE; Rom. 5:9-10; saved through FAITH; Eph. 2:8; Acts 16:31; saved by BAPTISM; 1 Peter 3:21, or by FAITH AND BAPTISM, Mark 16:16; saved by THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND THE RENEWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: Titus 3:5; saved by the GOSPEL; 1 Cor. 15:2; saved by CALLING UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD, and by ENDURING TO THE END; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13; Matt. 10:22. The MOVING CAUSE is grace; the EFFIEICNET CAUSE is Jesus; the PROCURING CAUSE is His death, resurrection, and life; the DISPOSING CAUSE is the gospel; the FORMAL CAUSE is faith; the IMMEDIATE CAUSE is baptism; the CONCURRING CAUSE is enduring to the end.

Which of these causes dare we eliminate? If it is said that only baptism should be eliminated because only baptism is a work of merit, then should you not be able to find a passage in scripture where it is so described. It is not even called a work of any sort, but it is eliminated from “works of righteousness which we have done.” Titus 3:5. If we are to eliminate from the list anything that is referred to as a work, then should we not eliminate faith. John 5:28-29 says “that ye should believe on him whom he hath sent” is “the work of God.” Some seek to dismiss this because it is a “work of God,” not man. Consider, however, the question of verse 28 to which Jesus is responding: “What shall WE DO [an action of man] that we might WORK the WORKS of God?” Faith is described as a work of God that they were to DO. They were to be obedient to the command to believe on him whom God had sent. When man is obedient to the command to be baptized he is obeying God or doing a work of God. It is not a work of merit. It does not earn anything. It is humble obedience to the command of God.

5. Salvation must not in any part depend on man.

This assertion is an outgrowth of Calvinistic predestination. It tenets, commonly referred to by the acronym TULIP are:

Total depravity;

Unconditional election;

Limited atonement;

Irresistible grace; and

Perseverance of the saints.

Man is absolutely and completely depraved by birth as a result of Adam’s sin. As a result he can do nothing good or acceptable to God. He is predestine to remain in that condition, and thus damned, unless God has predestined him to salvation without condition. Such election is totally an act of God and neither requires nor permits anything on the part of man. It is only for those whom God has elected and predestined to salvation for whom Christ died. Thus the benefits of Christ’s vicarious sacrifice are limited to those who are elect to salvation. Christ did not die for those who are predestined to damnation. The act or God that brings man into a saved state is the exercise of His irresistible grace. Not only is there nothing that man can do to be saved, there is nothing that he can do to avoid being saved. God’s grace is irresistible. Since man is saved by the power of God, if he were ever lost it would be a defect in the power of God. Therefore, once God has saved him by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit which man could not resist, once he is saved he cannot be lost.

To say that this convoluted doctrine is anti-scriptural is an understatement. Not one of its tenets is true. Man did not inherit the guilt (as opposed to the effects) of Adam. True, sin came into the world through Adam and death through sin (Romans 5:2), but it is “the soul that sinneth” that dies, and “the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father.” Ezekiel 18:20. The world as we know it is not the world as God created it. We live in a cursed world because of Adam’s sin. We earn our living by labor, or as Genesis describes it, by the sweat of our brow. But we are not depraved at birth because of Adam’s sin. It is our own sin, and we are all sinners (Rom. 3:10; 3:23). That man does not die as a result of the guilt of Adam’s transgression is clear from Romans 5:12-14. Death passed upon all men because all sinned. Verse 14 tell us that death reigned from Adam to Moses even over those who “had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” If man bore the guilt of Adam’s sin his sin would have been after the similitude of Adam’s sin.

Calvinists must read the sweet invitation of Jesus as “Come unto me all ye [unconditionally elected] who labor and are heavy laden.” That invitation, according to them, is not for all men. The same is true of Heaven’s call:

“17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. One who is not among the elect need not listen. Strange conduct for a God who is no respecter of persons. Acts 10:34. All throughout these invitations is the word “Come.” Why does that make sense even if it is limited to the elect since they cannot help coming – grace is irresistible. Why, if the invitation is limited, does Jesus bid ALL who labor to come? Why do the Spirit and the Bride say “whosoever will” if the invitation is not to whosoever and has nothing to do with the will of man?

For a discussion of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, please see Questions and Answers # 39. For more discussion of the doctrine of total depravity please see Questions and Answers # 11.

Since the doctrine that salvation must not in any part depend upon man depends upon the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination, and since that doctrine has been shown to be anti-scriptural, it follows that the doctrine that salvation must not in any part depend upon man has not been proved. But can it be true based on some other reason. What saith the scripture? When those on the day of Pentecost cried out asking what they should do, Peter did not respond by saying that there was nothing that they could do because it all depended on God. He told them do repentance and be baptized for the remission of their sins. In fact, “with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, SAVE YOURSELVES from this untoward generation.” Acts 2:40. This passage alone should have prevented any one from ever concluding as Calvinists have done, that there is nothing a sinner can do toward saving himself. While it is true that a sinner can do nothing to earn or merit either his salvation or that of others, he MUST do that which is commanded as the method of accepting or receiving the salvation procured for him and conditionally offered to him, i.e., offered to him upon conditions. To this extent he saves himself, as Peter declared. To be saved from that generation was to be saved from the fate awaiting that generation in the eternal world, in the same manner, as we have seen, that we may be saved from a sinking ship by escaping its fate.

6. Baptism to be saved is reliance on baptism for salvation.

Enough has been said to demonstrate that this assumption is false. Baptism to be saved is reliance on the God who promised to save me through Jesus’ vicarious sacrifice if I would only be obedient to the gospel by believing in and confessing Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, repenting of my sin and turning away from it, and being buried in the waters of baptism to come into Christ’s precious body, the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. The scriptures setting forth the relation between baptism and salvation are too clear to be misunderstood. I heard a radio preacher declare one time that if you just read Acts 2:38 you would think that baptism was essential to salvation. He then invited his audience to listen while he taught them what it really meant. Isn’t it strange that one who claims to preach the Scripture would declare to his audience that that very Scripture does not mean what it plainly seems to say. Can God through the Spirit not say what He means and mean what He says. Frankly, I would hate to be in the business of correcting the Holy Spirit’s shortcomings!

7. Baptism to be saved diminishes God’s Glory and grace.

Would being baptized to be saved diminish God’s glory and grace it God commanded baptism to be saved? Surely no one would so contend. Is it not clear from the passages listed and discussed above that God has so commanded? Man must believe. That is an action on the part of man. Does that diminish God’s glory and grace? Man must repent. Does that diminish God’s glory and grace? In fact, man is active in both believing and repentance. Man is passive in baptism – it is something done to him. It is something to which he submits.

The truth is that no one (at least that I have ever found) believes that obeying the commands of God diminishes his grace and glory. That argument is made to prejudice the argument against those who believe that baptism is necessary to salvation. If those who do not so believe can prejudice folks against the necessity of baptism be accusing proponents of diminishing god’s grace and glory, those who reject the necessity of baptism then feel that they can escape dealing with the arguments made and the scriptures asserted. Such is not worthy of those who are seeking the truth of God’s word.

8. Thy Word Is Truth’s interpretation of verses is “wooden.”

No response can be made to this assertion since the writer does not even attempt to define what he means by the term. Neither does he give an illustration of what he means. It seems to be another attack attempting to prejudice the reader. Unsupported negative charges contribute nothing to the search for truth.

9. Thy Word Is Truth failed to compare scripture with scripture.

Here again there is no definition or illustration of such failure. One might suppose from his entire article that he is referring to failing to compare Ephesians 2:8-10 and Acts 2:38. It does seem that one who makes the charge should feel obligated to demonstrate how Thy Word Is Truth has so failed. In this response we have discussed both passages and harmonized them consistent with being saved by grace and being baptized for the remission of sins. We await a response.

10. Thy Word Is Truth’s understanding of Eph. 2:8-10 and Acts 2:38 makes those passages contradictory.

This is basically the same assumption as No. 9. It should be addressed in the same manner.

11. God’s mercy is extended to those who do not do the will of the Father.

This is an unstated assumption by the writer. The writer asserts that God has extended mercy to him by which he means that he has been saved without having been immersed for any of the reasons Scripture declares to be the purpose of baptism, e.g., remission of sins, to come into Christ, into the body, into the kingdom, etc. See the discussion and chart above. If what the scripture says is the purpose of baptism is in fact its purpose, he has not done that which God has commanded to receive the mercy that God has extended. God has extended grace and mercy to every man. If that extension is unconditional there is no stopping place short of universal salvation – the salvation of all men. To avoid this conclusion the Calvinist predestinarian has put forward the doctrine of limited atonement, that Christ did not die for all men. Who can really believe it?

Thanks again to the writers for submitting their statements. They have now been addressed. Thy Word Is Truth urges them to put aside attempts to prejudice the argument and deal with the scriptures set forth. There is nothing to lose by doing so. There is much to be gained. May the Lord bless who study His Word. He will bless those who study with an honest and open mind. May we all say, Thy Word Is Truth, and, with young Samuel, say, “Speak, Lord, thy servant heareth.”


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)