Question: from Maddogfr@…
Can only souls that are baptized be admitted to heaven? If so, where do they go? Thank you for elucidating this question which has been a discussion point for a long time with my brother.
I hope the reply satisfactorily answers your questions so that there is no doubt in your mind about the truth.
This is a subject that like many other has been abused, beat up, misrepresented and confused in every way possible. The devil loves to bring confusion. But if you believe the GOSPEL, then you believe that salvation is by faith through grace alone, apart from works, period. It is by faith through grace apart from works of the law, works of the flesh, circumcision, baptism, speaking in tongues, or whatever precondition men want to put on it so that they nullify the power and work of the shed blood of Jesus on Calvary. If you take one verse by itself, take it out of the context of the whole and the total teaching of scripture which demands that there be no doctrine built upon singe scripture. Then you see that with this doctrine as with many others, there are extremes and the truth is not in the extremes on any subject; for they have to take one verse and exclude many others to come to their perverted doctrines made by men.
First believe Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." AND Titus 3:5-6 "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; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;" If we are not saved by works or righteousness, whether circumcision or baptism or whatever, but by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which is the same thing as being born again of the spirit, which Jesus spoke of in John 3:3 "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." He didn't say unless he be baptized, but born again, which is the work of the Holy Spirit. Now, in verse 7, Jesus expands that to say, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Here, water is not baptism, but the water of the WORD of GOD. We hear the Word, the Gospel and then we believe, repent and are saved. Notice Ephesians 5:25-27 "even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." This is verified by 1Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
So scripture teaches that we are born again by the Word and by the Holy Spirit. It takes both. We must hear the Word and believe it, then the Holy Spirit does the work of regeneration and we are born again and saved!!! Then, not when or later after we are baptized.
Baptism is an ordinance of the Church; it is to fulfill all righteousness, as Jesus said when He was baptized, not for forgiveness of sin. It is only the blood of Jesus that washes away our sin. Revelation 5:9 "for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood" That is again confirmed by Colossians 1:13 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" Not baptism. Baptism is an outward sign and witness or testimony before the world of what has already taken place within our hearts. If anything else can wash away our sin or save us, then Jesus didn't need to die on the cross. Every man made religion does away with the power and effectiveness of the blood of Jesus to cleanse us apart from and without anything else, with no works or effort on our part, only simple faith in His Word and the finished works of Calvary.
If we follow Isaiah 28:9-10 "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" If we rightly divide the word of God according to 2 Timothy 2:15 to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," then we will come up with correct doctrine. If baptism was necessary for salvation, then why did the Apostle Paul, the greatest apostle to the Gentiles, write in 1 Corinthians 1:17-18 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." Not baptism!
This is but a very few scriptures on the subject to make my point. I know how and what these others say, but there is only one fringe 'Christian' group that believes that you must be baptized to be saved and there is only one fringe group that says you must speak in tongues to be saved, there was only one group that said you had to be circumcised to be saved, but they are all wrong, they are all not true Protestants and not holding to the "faith once delivered to the saints." The Word God speaks of baptism as being a doctrine (Hebrews 6:2), salvation is not a doctrine and salvation comes through the gospel and baptism is not the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is by definition of scripture, the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I close by proving that with 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" Paul said this is the gospel and means of salvation, not baptism!