When Is The Penitent Believer Saved?
All responsible people are guilty of sin (Romans 3:23). Sin has a payday; and when people persist in sin, they will face the wrath of God (Romans 6:23). The only way men can be saved from sin is by the blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8-9). The fact that this is taught in the Bible does not mean that all accept this truth. The fact that men have concocted many supposed ways by which they can be saved, is proof that they resist what God says. At what point in man's response to God is he saved by the blood of Christ? What does the Bible say about this matter?
Some insist that God will save everyone. Everyone will go to heaven, and no one will go to hell. That is a convenient and comforting teaching. Is it true? Jesus spoke of two ways, one broad, the other narrow. The broad way leads to destruction, while the narrow way leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus certainly didn't have the idea that everyone was going to be saved, even though that is His desire. Some say that a person is saved at the precise moment he or she believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This is another way of saying that we are "justified by faith alone." Some say that justification is by faith alone "without works of any kind." Others speak of being "ordained to eternal life." The result is that a person is not baptized to be saved, but because he has already been saved. This says that faith is the only condition of salvation, and that baptism has nothing to do with being saved.
A number of passages show other important considerations in the matter of salvation. For example, Acts 2:38, speaks about baptism; it also speaks about repentance. So, is salvation by faith alone, or is it by faith plus repentance? James 2:24 talks about the faith of Abraham, saying that faith without works is dead and that man is not justified by faith alone. Whom shall we believe, God or man? Jesus spoke about believing, which all admit is necessary to salvation; He also said you must be baptized in order to be saved (Mark 16:15-16). Does the Lord know as much about this as man knows? Baptism stands between the sinner and being saved. Who is saved? He that believes and is not baptized, or he that believes and is baptized? Baptism stands between the sinner and the remission of sins. That is what Peter said on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). Peter and the other apostles were simply preaching what Jesus told them to preach (Luke 24:44). The people on Pentecost asked the question: What must we do to be saved? Peter said: "Repent and be baptized." Those folks believed; otherwise, why would they ask what they needed to do?
Baptism stands between the sinner and becoming a son of God (Galatians 3:26-27). The believer has the right or opportunity to become a child of God (John 1: 12). Yet, if he became a son of God when he believed, he would not have to become one, would he? If he believed, as some say, he would already be a child of God. Paul says that men are baptized into Christ. Baptism also between the sinner and having his sins washed away. Saul of Tarsus was told to be baptized to have his sins washed away (Acts 22: 16). He believed who Jesus was. Yet, this did not mean that he was saved. If he was already saved at the point of faith, then there wasn't anything to wash away. The New Testament also teaches that baptism stands between the sinner and getting into Christ. The only way to get into Christ is to be baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-4). If you can be saved without being baptized, then you can be saved without Christ. Who would be so foolish to say that a person can be saved without Christ? Have you obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ? Why not?