Is Salvation by Faith Alone
Copyright © February 1, 2011 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
or is Something More Required?
All Rights Reserved.
(All Scripture Verses are from the New International Version of the Holy Bible except where noted.)
God will make the final decision on who is saved and who is not saved. God looks at our hearts and God will judge each one of us based on His Perfect Will and His Perfect Wisdom. God will never be restricted by anything man writes or says.
Please keep this in mind as you read the following words. The following words are nothing more than my words, with a few scriptures added. The scriptures are Holy. But my words are nothing more than the words of a man.
My primary objective in writing this article was to help me more clearly understand the role of water baptism in the Christian faith so I could explain it to anyone who might be interested in this topic. Water baptism is one of those topics that has divided churches, and it has frequently brought one Christian into conflict with another Christian. I do not wish to create additional divisions or conflicts within the Christian faith. However, these divisions existed long before I was born and they will continue to exist long after I am dead.
Salvation and Water Baptism
Let me begin by being very clear that the issue is not whether or not a Christian should be water baptized. All Christians who wish to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ should be water baptized as an act of obedience and submission before God.
The fundamental question is whether or not water baptism is a necessary part of the salvation process, or if it is simply the outward public act of a repentant sinner to the will of Jesus.
The answer to this question must be based on what the Holy Bible says about baptism.
How can a person be saved?
- Jesus was water baptized and we should follow His example. But Jesus did not personally water baptize anyone. (John 4:2 - "although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.")
- The apostle Paul only water baptized two different individuals plus one household of people. Paul spent most of his time preaching the gospel but he did not water baptize the people he led to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:14-17.)
- One of the two thieves who were crucified beside Jesus did confess Jesus with his mouth but he was not water baptized. The thief died on his cross a short time after Jesus died. However, Jesus still granted that thief access into paradise. (Luke 23:39-46.)
- Cornelius and his household believed the Gospel message about Jesus Christ and immediately they all received the gift of the Holy Spirit. At that point it would be difficult to argue that they were not saved. Then they were water baptized. (Acts 10:30-48.)
In whose Name should we be baptized?
- Many, many scriptures say if a person will only believe then he or she will be saved.
(Luke 7:44-50, John 3:3-21, John 3:36, John 5:24-29, John 6:47, John 11:25, John 20:30-31, Acts 10:38-43, Acts 16:31, Romans 3:22-28, Romans 10:8-13, Ephesians 2:4-10, 1 John 5:12-13.)
- Two scriptures say a person must believe and be baptized in order to be saved.
(Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38. These verses will be examined in detail later in this article.)
- The first part of one scripture verse might be interpreted as saying that water baptism will wash away your sins. However, if you read to the end of that verse you will notice that it clearly says that calling on the name of the Lord is critical to the forgiveness of sins.
(Acts 22:16 - "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." NKJV)
- One scripture says that a person must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. But the very next scripture verse explains that being born of water refers to physical birth (flesh gives birth to flesh).
(John 3:5-6 - Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.")
- First Peter 3:20-22 says " . . . in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also -- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand -- with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him."
These verses do not say that water baptism saves you. These verses say that water symbolizes the baptism that saves you and what actually saves you is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Since there is only One God, and since the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are One, then it appears that if you are baptized in the name of Jesus or in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit then you are being baptized into one of God's many different but perfectly correct names.
- Several scriptures say be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:38, Acts 8:15-16, Acts 10:48, Acts 19:5.)
- One scripture says be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:18-20.)
Is water baptism the complete submersion of the body under water, or is water baptism the pouring of water on a person's head?
If the New Testament contained very clear instructions on how water baptism was actually done, then we should be obedient and we should water baptize people in exactly that way.
- Submersion: The Holy Bible says that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and that when He came up out of the water the Holy Spirit descended on Him.
This could be legitimately interpreted in either of the following two ways:
There are also several other scriptures that indicate that people were baptized in a large body of water.
- Jesus was completely submerged below the water and then He came up out of the water.
- Jesus walked down into the Jordan River and He was baptized by John the Baptist and then He walked up out of the Jordan River.
(Matthew 3:4-17, Mark 1:4-11, Acts 8:34-40.)
The following baptism scripture could be interpreted as being completely submerged under water:
Colossians 2:12 - "buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead."
Please remember that Jesus was buried in a cave tomb and He was not covered with dirt in a grave. The above scripture also says we are raised by faith. This implies that our faith saves us and not water baptism.
- Pouring: Some people may have been water baptized inside a person's home.
If this was the case then water was probably poured on those people to baptize them.
(Acts 9:17-19, Acts 16:29-34, Acts 22:12-16.)
In the Old Testament a small quantity of oil was poured on a person to sanctify that person for a specific task.
However, since God intentionally decided to not give us specific instructions for water baptism, then it may be that God simply desires for a person to be water baptized and God is not concerned with exactly how that ritual is performed.
But that is just my opinion and it is nothing more than one man's opinion.
Each Christian Church will need to make their own decision on how they will practice water baptism.
There is more than one type of baptism:
Which comes first: baptism with water or baptism with the Holy Spirit?
- There is baptism by water. (Matthew 3:11-12, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, Acts 1:5, Acts 8:38, Acts 10:47, Acts 11:16.)
- There is baptism by the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11-12, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, Acts 1:5, Acts 11:16, 1 Corinthians 12:13.)
- There is baptism by fire. (Matthew 3:11-12, Luke 3:16.)
- Some people were water baptized and later they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38-39, Acts 8:14-17, Acts 19:4-7.)
- Some people received the Holy Spirit and later they were water baptized. (Acts 10:30-48.)
A Few Holy Scriptures:
And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
... And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I,
the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
The above scripture says that John ("the Baptist") preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. However, the above scripture also says that John knew that he was only baptizing with water, and that someone more powerful was coming who would baptize people with the Holy Spirit.
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,
but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
The above scripture says believe and be baptized and you will be saved.
But it also says if you do not believe you will be condemned.
It does not say if you are not water baptized you will be condemned.
In fact the above scripture does not clearly indicate whether the baptism reference is to water baptism or to baptism by the Holy Spirit.
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 above says repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the Holy Spirit.
In Titus 3:4-7 the Bible says that washing by the Holy Spirit is what saves us and not water baptism.
If you read the entire Holy Bible from cover to cover you will find many, many scriptures that clearly say that any person who will not believe will be condemned.
However, I could not find one scripture anywhere in the entire Bible that clearly says that any person who is not water baptized will be condemned.
Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
Jesus Christ personally spoke the following words about Himself:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because
he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
The above words are a "direct quote" spoken by Jesus Christ about Himself.
Jesus did not mention water baptism.
Jesus said that anyone who simply believes in Him will be saved.
There is no simple straightforward answer to the question about the role of water baptism in the Christian faith.
The Holy Bible is not an easy to read "how to" book that clearly explains everything in a simple step-by-step order.
The Holy Bible requires diligent study to more clearly understand its teachings and the Will of God Almighty.
However, God intended for His "Plan of Salvation" to be so simple that even a child could understand it.
Anyone who believes that only a really, really smart person will be able to understand the Holy Bible has a serious problem with personal pride.
Please remember that God resists the proud but God will honor the humble believer (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
Which are you?
A Few More Scriptures:
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said,
"I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned,
and revealed them to little children.
Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
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.
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel --
not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
A Quick Summary
There are an overwhelming number of scripture verses that say that faith in Jesus is what saves us. These verses would not be true as written if water baptism was also a required part of the salvation process.
In the Old Testament when something was important to God then He would give very detailed instructions on how to do what He expected.
I have found it interesting that the New Testament does not contain any clear specific instructions about water baptism.
For example, the New Testament does not contain answers to any of the following questions:
If water baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation, then is any baptism method okay as long as the person is water baptized?
- How should water baptism be done: complete submersion of the body, or pouring water on the head, or sprinkling a few drops of water on the head?
- How old should a person be before he or she can be baptized: 7 days, 3 years, 7 years, 12 years, 16 years, 20 years, 25 years, or is the person's maturity more important than the person's age?
- When should a person be baptized: immediately upon confessing Jesus as Savior, or anytime the same day, or sometime within a week, or just whenever it is convenient?
- Where should a person be baptized: indoors, outdoors, only in a river, or in any pool of water?
- Who should perform the baptism: anyone who has been previously baptized, or any elder of the church, or only an ordained minister?
Or do specific conditions have to be met or else the water baptism doesn't count and the person is doomed to an eternal hell?
Since water baptism is part of the Christian faith, this means that at some time in the past every Christian Church or Denomination had to make a decision on how they would water baptize new believers. The original founders of each Christian denomination had to use their own judgment in making their baptism decisions as they felt led by the Holy Spirit. Then these baptism procedures were passed down as tradition from one generation to the next.
Unfortunately most Christian denominations today now believe that the way they water baptize new believers is the only way that is acceptable to God. I personally do not know if the water baptism method that is currently practiced by any one Christian denomination is more acceptable to God than the baptism methods practiced by other Christian denominations. The reason I don't know is because all the different baptism methods now being used are based on the interpretations of the founders of each Christian denomination and all of these baptism methods can be supported in one way or another using different scriptures from the Holy Bible.
Consequently I cannot tell you exactly how water baptism should be done because I have not been able to find a clear description of water baptism anywhere in the Holy Bible. Therefore I suggest you be content with whatever water baptism method that is currently being used at the Christian Church you regularly attend.
Now that I have been honest and I have explained what I don't know, please allow me to tell you my current opinion about salvation.
But please, please remember that the following is just the opinion of a man and God will never be restricted by anyone's opinion on this topic, and that includes my opinion.
If you believe that Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God, and that He died on the Cross as the full and final payment for all your sins, and that God raised His Son from the dead, and you accept Jesus' death on the cross and the shedding of His Holy Blood as the full ransom payment for your eternal soul, and you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you will be saved. The moment that you believe you are saved and you immediately receive the gift of eternal life and you will spend eternity with God in Glory.
Obedience and Growth in the Christian Faith
- As soon as possible after you are saved you should be water baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Then you should try to gradually understand and follow more of the teachings of your Savior Jesus Christ.
- You should never be ashamed of Jesus and you should be willing to tell anyone who asks you about your faith in Jesus.
- You should understand and practice the two great commandments: (1) Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and (2) love your neighbor as yourself.
- You should remember the Sabbath day and you should attend a Christian Church every week that teaches from the Holy Bible and not from some other "inspired document."
- You should have a desire to read the Holy Bible on a regular basis and you should allow God to speak to you through His Holy Words to help you better understand His Ways.
- You should pray every day for more of God's wisdom and guidance and you should ask God to help your life unfold according to His Perfect Will.
For the Scribes and Pharisees among us I believe the above is a reasonable summary of most of the relevant scriptures that mention salvation. If we believe in Jesus Christ then our sins will be forgiven and we will go to Heaven. If we want to have some rewards when we get to Heaven then we need to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
For the Children among us I believe that God does not desire for anyone to perish and He will evaluate each one of us based on whatever standard He selects. For many of us that standard might be the following:
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
First Timothy 4:10
"we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
A Closing Footnote
I don't mind if you have a completely different opinion on the above topics. You are entitled to your beliefs just as I am entitled to my beliefs.
Based on my beliefs, if I was standing at the gate into Heaven and God asked me for a reason why I should be allowed to enter then I would probably say something similar to the following:
I know I deserve to be cast into Hell.
I am a sinner and I have never, never done anything that would make me worthy of spending eternity with You.
However, when Your Son Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the entire world, I was one of those wicked sinners that He died for.
And I have always told anyone who would listen about my faith in Your Son Jesus and my adoration for His Holy Name.
And I have never had any hope of receiving Your gift of eternal life other than my faith in what Your Son did for me on Calvary.
That's probably what I would say, assuming I was able to speak without choking on the words. What would you say?
A Few Reference Scripture Verses From the Holy Bible
Study the Bible and Avoid Unproductive Quarreling:
2 Timothy 2:14-15
Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
Do Not Be Ashamed of Jesus:
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."
John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
1 Corinthians 1:10-18
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."
Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel -- not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord -- Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here -- has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
"A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him.
"Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved -- you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God -- he and his whole family.
Believe and Be Baptized to Be Saved:
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
Baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ:
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 promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off -- for all whom the Lord our God will call."
Baptism with the Holy Spirit:
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
They answered, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
So Paul asked, "Then what baptism did you receive?"
"John's baptism," they replied.
Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
1 Corinthians 12:13
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free -- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Baptism by the Holy Spirit Followed by Baptism with Water:
Cornelius answered: "Four days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.' So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us."
Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached -- how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
"We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen -- by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Salvation by Faith and Not by Works:
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven -- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven -- the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.
"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out -- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished -- he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ 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. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.
The Repentant Thief That Was Nailed to the Cross:
They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.
The Blood of Jesus:
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.
1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.
The Two Great Commandments:
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
The Sabbath Day:
"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Anyone Who is Saved is Eternally Safe:
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God Loves Everyone and God Wants Us All to Repent:
Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!'
2 Peter 3:9
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Salvation in the Name of Jesus:
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen -- by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
1 John 5:12-13
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile -- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
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