Are Unbaptized Believers Lost?May 30, 2012 3:11 pm faith
The question before us is certainly a crucial one. It spawns even more questions. Are all believers the same? Can you believe on Jesus and refuse to obey His commands? Can you go to heaven as a foolish rather than wise man? Can a dead faith save? What is the source of the command to be baptized? Is the command to be baptized from heaven or from men? What is the relationship between faith and baptism? Let’s consider some of the answers to these questions.
Are All believers the Same?
Faith without works is dead being alone! (James 2:14-26). There are inactive believers and active believers. The devils believe and tremble but they are not saved! All believers in God will not be saved. No one can be saved with a dead faith. There are active believers like Abraham whose faith motivated him to obey God’s commands (James 2:21). He shows his faith in God by his obedience to God. His faith was living and active.
Some believed on Christ but would not confess Him (John 12:42). “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” Here are individuals that believed but are not saved. Faith only will not save! A faith claim is unverifiable without obedience. “But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).
Can You Believe on Jesus and Refuse to Obey His Commands?
Many people attempt to do this very thing. Jesus said, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). A foolish man hears the sayings of Jesus and disobeys them (Matt. 7:24-28). A wise man hears the sayings of Jesus and doeth them. Can a foolish man go to heaven in disobedience to Jesus? Remember, the words of Jesus will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).
The Command to Be Baptized–Is it From Heaven or From Men?
Jesus gave this command as a part of the great commission: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). The recognition of the lordship of Christ demands that we submit to the teachings of Jesus. Christ does not know (in a spiritual, covenantal relationship) those who refuse to submit to His will (Matt. 7:21-23). Only those who are baptized into Christ belong to Christ (Gal. 3:16-29). The command to be baptized originates from heaven. To reject it is to disbelieve it. Baptism is an act of faith whereby we trust God to forgive us of our sins and so manifest His grace in us to the saving of our soul. Thus, baptism is not a work of merit. New Testament baptism is not a part of the Mosaical Law. It is a command of the law of Christ.
Are Unbaptized Believers Lost?
Here is a summary of what we have taught in the New Testament:
1. An unbaptized believer has an inactive faith–a dead faith–and a dead faith cannot save.
2. An unbaptized believer has rejected the command of Jesus to be baptized and thereby rejects His Lordship.
3. An unbaptized believer has proved himself foolish by only hearing the words of Jesus but not obeying them.
4. An unbaptized believer is self-deceived (James 1:22). He is a hearer only of the word and not a doer of the word.
5. An unbaptized believer is outside of Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). Those outside of Christ are lost. To be lost means that one is not forgiven. Baptism is for the remission (forgiveness) of sins (Acts 2:38).
Efforts are being made today to circumvent the teachings of Jesus. Many pay lip service to the Lord without obeying Him. Remember the words of Jesus, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?”