An elder from a local denomination visited Morningside one Sunday. After worship he stayed to chat with me and asked me to consider being the preacher of his church. Of course, I thanked him for his kind offer, but told him that I was happy in my present ministry.
The strange thing was that he knew that I had convictions that many in his congregation would not have tolerated being preached. They had long since joined the World Council of Churches, introduced instruments in worship, and though they said they believed that baptism was for the remission of sins, they did not expect their preachers to believe it to be necessary for salvation.
Now, I am not God, and I will not determine who will and who will not enter heaven. But this I know! The answer to the question, “What must we do to be saved?” is, and always will be:
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the New Testament teaches that a person becomes a Christian when they have their sins washed away in the waters of baptism (Acts 22:16).
There is no clearer example of how Christian baptism was carried out than that of the Ethiopian eunuch. When Philip had finished preaching the Gospel to him, the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” (Acts 8:36).
Undoubtedly, if baptism included sprinkling or pouring water on a person, then the eunuch would have had bottles of water freely available for Philip to use. Instead, “he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him” (Acts 8:38). Thus, we can say with confidence that a sinner is saved by baptism (1 Peter 3:21).
Yes, I have drawn a line in the sand: “I do not believe a person is saved if they have not been baptised for the forgiveness of their sins!” But the line is not really mine to draw. It has already been drawn by the Holy Spirit in the Bible. It is mine to lovingly obey.