Mark 16:16

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Catholics and the Church of Christ and many others require baptism in order to go to heaven.

How do you explain this verse? Whatever you do with baptism, you must also do with faith, for they are connected here. Or in other words, whatever you do with faith, you must also do with baptism, for they connected here.

These words were spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ, when commissioning His apostles to preach the gospel throughout the world with the power He would give them at Pentecost.

Consider the order of the text. Since it states faith precedes baptism, those who baptize infants have already rejected the text; so we shall ignore any speculations of Rome and her Reformed daughters.

Consider the order of the text. Since it states faith and baptism precede salvation, we must define salvation carefully; for only two aspects of salvation follow baptism.

It cannot teach conditions for election, since election is unconditional and took place before the foundation of the world (Rom 8:29-33; Eph 1:3-6; II Tim 1:9; Titus 1:2).

It cannot teach conditions for justification, since justification is unconditional and took place at the cross of Calvary (Rom 5:18-19; 8:29-33; I Cor 1:29-31; II Cor 5:18-21).

It cannot teach conditions for regeneration, since regeneration is unconditional and the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit before faith or baptism are possible (John 1:13; 3:8; 5:24-25; Rom 8:15; I Cor 2:14-16; Titus 3:5).

The gift of eternal life is by unconditional grace and the Bible can only be rightly understood by recognizing five phases of salvation. We have already ruled out the first three phases.

Our text must be teaching either (1) the conditions for practical deliverance from ignorance and judgment in this life as in Acts 2:40; I Timothy 4:16; and James 5:19-20, or (2) the evidence of final deliverance at the judgment seat of Christ as in Romans 13:11 and II Corinthians 1:10, or (3) both.

We conclude that our Lord was encouraging His apostles with the weight of their gospel commission. Those who would hear and obey were the elect of God, and their faith and obedience in baptism were evidence. Those who would not hear and obey were giving evidence they were reprobates.

When a child of God believes the gospel and is baptized, he is saved immediately from the false ideas and hopelessness of a Christ-less existence; and he secures the evidence he will yet be saved in that coming day of wrath and eternal condemnation.

The text is a favorite of those Baptist apostates known as the Church of Christ, who swallowed the heresy of baptismal regeneration from their founders, the Presbyterians Thomas and Alexander Campbell. Their entire religion centers around making baptism their saviour, but this text will do them no good, for God’s salvation occurs long before baptism.

If you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in Holy Scripture and have been baptized sincerely by immersion according to the apostolic pattern, then you have been delivered from the vanity of this world and will yet be delivered from the judgment to come. Praise ye the Lord. Amen.

More Difficult Verses

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

John 3:5

Jesus answered, 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.

Acts 22:16

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:29

Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?