Berean Challenge
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Position: We are not only saved by grace, but baptism is the point where we come in
contact with the blood of Jesus.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8)
"You say that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone."
(James 2:24)

Romans 3:28 says: "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith alone, apart from observing the law." Baptism is a work!
The word alone is not in Romans 3:28. Faith alone is found only one place: "You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone." (James 2:23)
Jesus makes an interesting response in John 6:28,29.
"Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.'"
Belief is not the work of is the work required of us. If we are not saved by works, we are not saved by belief?
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
The blood of Jesus saves us. Our actions are in response to the gift of grace he offers. We must reach out and accept his gift...then live like we are saved!

The thief on the cross was saved, but he was not baptized.
Yes! The thief was saved on the cross. And, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. were saved, but they were not baptized. Baptism was not an issue for them.
The thief could not have been baptized into Jesus even if he wanted too. Jesus had not yet shed his blood!
What happened to the thief on the cross is not relevant to our baptism discussion.

The last part of Mark 16:16 does not say whoever does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned.
A person who does not believe would not be involved with the foolishness of baptism? (I Corinthians 1:23)

The grammar and words used in Acts 2:37,38 do not support the idea that baptism is for the remission of sins.
"Peter replied, "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."
The word for is the Greek word eis, which mean because of. This shows we are baptized because of what has already happened.
If I read Acts 2:38 as if I had never seen it before, what would I think? When I say eis means because of, it makes not sense.
Actually, the word eis does not mean because of, it always refers to something that is future.
If we insist that eis means because of, we have serious problems. Peter made a mistake! When these believers asked Peter what to do, he did not tell them they were already saved, he put a meaningless burden on them. And, he told them that baptism, and repentance came after they were saved. So we can say repentance is not necessary...until after one has been saved.
To carry this idea further,  these people did not need the gift of the Spirit to be saved, because Peter said they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit after repentance and baptism.
"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." 
Romans 8:9)

In Matthew 26:28 we read: "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." This is the same phrase found in Acts 2:38. If we insist that for means because of, Jesus said his blood was shed because sins were already remitted.

What about a person on a deserted Island or a person who calls out to the Lord on a deathbed or in war? These people cannot be baptized.
It is not good to play God! What God does in an isolated situation is his business.
There are 2 things to consider:
1. "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16)
2. Jesus indicates there are degrees of punishment.
"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
(Luke 12:47,48)
If I am reading this, I have no excuse. I either obey what God says or refuse to obey...and get what I deserve.
Note: Who says a person cannot baptize himself or herself?

Baptism is not for salvation, it is something I do to show that I am saved!
If this position is true, baptism is essential either before or after salvation? God tells us to be baptized, so it is essential. So, considering all the information above, why not do it God's way in the first place.


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