"He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.Mark 16:16(NASB)
Having just read about Christ's appearance to two of His disciples as they walked along the road and having just recorded that Jesus rebuked His disciples for their unbelief and hardness of heart.. by refusing to believe the eye-witness accounts of Christ's resurrection.. we read that Jesus gave the disciples His great missionary commission.. to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all people. And He charged them.. that those who responded to the gospel in faith were to be baptised - while we also read: whoever does not believe will be condemned.
There are about 150 passages in the Word of God that state unequivocally that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ's finished work on the cross - alone, but sadly there are some that cause confusion in the body of Christ by teaching that without water baptism a man or woman is not saved and they often cite this verse as evidence.. And yet if our eternal salvation is dependent on water baptism it stands in contradistinction to the clear teaching of the rest of the Word of God - and it indirectly declares that Christ's finished work on the cross is insufficient for our eternal salvation - requiring us to add to His finished work. As Paul would say - may this never be!
From the foundation of the world, the shed blood of the Lamb of God was God's demanded purchase price for the salvation of all mankind, and although the waters of baptism are a most beautiful picture of the inner cleansing that results when a person is saved by grace through faith in Christ - if it is a requirement for salvation in addition to Christ finished work at Calvary, it proclaims that His finished work was insufficient to pay the full price for the sin of the whole world - God forbid!
Baptism is simply an outward and public demonstration of an inner, supernatural work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, which takes place in the life of a man or woman who trusts in Christ for salvation. The very moment that a guilty sinner ... who has recognised his need of salvation, places their faith in Christ as their own sin-substitute - that man or woman is saved. The instant a guilty sinner ... who recognises their need of salvation, puts their trust in Christ as their own Kinsman- Redeemer.. that man or woman is immediately baptised into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit and is taken out of Satan's domain and placed INTO Christ's body.
Water baptism is is simply an outward declaration of an inner, Spirit baptism. The baptism of the Spirit happens once in the life of a believer. Spirit baptism takes place when Christ's sacrifice for personal sin becomes a reality in the life of a guilty sinner - and from that point on we are to walk in spirit and truth and to be filled day by day.. by means of the Holy Spirit.
God knows the heart.. and God knows the very moment that a guilty man, woman or child trusts in Christ for Salvation and baptism is the next inevitable step of obedience in the life of a Christian. The moment that the knowledge of Christ's sacrificial work on the cross is transferred into an inner, personal faith, is the very moment that salvation takes place.. and a sinner is born again and made a new creation in Christ.
Jesus said; For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It is indeed a precious truth that we read in Mark: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but the rest of the verse is also a severe warning: 'but he who does not believe will be condemned.'
There are many that believe in the historical Jesus and His moral teachings without believing in His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins and life everlasting. Such people are not saved (even if they go through a physical water baptism). That sort of detached belief does not result in a man or woman being saved by grace through faith.. and baptised into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit - for they have not mixed an inner heart faith with the factual truth.
Jesus said; For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He who believes in Him is not condemned; BUT he who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.'
Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ's sacrificial work on the cross is sufficient for my salvation, AMEN.