Question #318

What if I accept Jesus but die before I am baptized?

What happens if someone accepts Jesus Christ as savior and dies before baptism? Repent and be baptized...is this talking about water baptism since the bible names about 10 baptisms? Water, Name of Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Fire...The baptism if fire is one we don't want to participate in? My questions are asked with all do respect and love in our Lord and Savior, but I think the scriptures say something else. Was the thief on the cross baptized by water or in the Name of Jesus? Thank You in advance for your response.

The Answer:

This inquirer professes to be a searcher for truth, but his questions betray him. A true searcher for truth would have at least reviewed the contents of Thy Word Is Truth to see if the arguments he advanced had already been answered. Either this inquirer 1) did not do so, 2) did so, read the answers, and had no reply, or 3) did so, read the answers, knew a reply, but chose not to reveal it, but rather so see if could cause time to be wasted by answering them one more time.

The inquirer is directed to “Class:Questions,” Lesson 3 which deals with baptism and to “Questions and Answers,” No 84, which refers to Questions 9, 14, 20, 27, 60, and 81.

It should also be noted that the only basis that he gives for his position is that “he thinks” the scripture teaches otherwise. Neither what he thinks, what I think, or what anybody else thinks determines truth. What the Bible teaches determines truth whether I agree with it or not. The same is true of our inquirer. There is a plaque which reads, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” That is cute, but untrue. The truth is, “God said it and that settles it.” The arguments advanced here are based on a “thus saith the Lord.” Honest responses will at least make an effort to do so.


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)