22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. 1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.” (Genesis 6:22–7:1, NKJV)
Noah was a righteous man. This does not mean Noah never sinned. This does not mean Noah earned his way onto the ark. It means God accounted Noah righteous when he did “according to all that God commanded him” (Gen. 6:22). Noah built the ark “by faith,” and in so doing he “became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb. 11:7). Thus, Noah “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:8). Noah was saved from the flood waters “by grace, through faith.” This is a perfect type of God’s salvation of sinners in Christ, the antitype of which “now saves us—baptism” (1 Pet. 3:20-21). Water baptism no more earns salvation than building the ark earned Noah’s salvation from the flood. Salvation is “by grace” and it is “through faith” (Eph. 2:8). Yet, the faith that saves is the faith that obeys. Is it essential to obey God’s command to be baptized in order to be saved? Yes. If you doubt it, just ask Noah.
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15–16, NKJV)
The gospel is the good news of salvation from sins through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Son of God sent His apostles into the world to preach the gospel. Those who do not believe the gospel are condemned, lost in their sins. Every person who believes the gospel and is baptized is saved from the condemnation of sin. The words of Jesus are unmistakable. One must believe and be baptized to be saved. Jesus did not say, “He who believes is saved, and will be baptized later”. Jesus did not say, “He who believes and prays the sinner’s prayer is saved”. Let us not twist and change the simple words of Jesus. Do you want to be saved from your sins? Believe the gospel and be baptized and you will be saved. Do you refuse to believe the gospel of Christ? If so, then you will be condemned because of your sins. Come to Jesus. Believe and be baptized, and He will save you.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14, NKJV)
Being under the Law of Moses only magnified the guilt of Israel’s sin (Rom. 3:19-20). Without God’s grace, sin rules and produces spiritual death. God’s grace in Christ provides escape from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6:11-13). While today’s verse magnifies the superiority of grace over sin, but it does not teach that Christians are free from living under law. We cannot do as we please because we are “not under law but under grace”. If no divine law exists to which we are accountable, then sin itself does not exist, “for where there is no law there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). Sin, by definition, is the transgression of the law of God (1 Jno. 3:4). Furthermore, it is notable that sinners are justified “by the law of faith” (Rom. 3:27). On another occasion, the apostle clearly said we are “under law to Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). The truth is, grace does not ignore Christ’s law. We stand in grace when we live by faith, trusting and obeying the law of Christ (Rom. 5:2; Heb. 5:8-9).
17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17–18, NKJV)
Independence Day. We are not talking about July 4, but an even greater day on which freedom is not only declared, but obtained. We are talking about the day the sinner is “set free from sin” and from sin’s death (v. 18, 23). It is very troubling that so many people cannot identify the Bible’s Independence Day from sin (the day of salvation). This passage helps. When these sinners “obeyed from the heart” the gospel of Christ (“that form of doctrine”) they were “set free from sin”. Their Independence Day occurred when they obeyed the teaching of the gospel. The gospel (“that form of doctrine”) commands the lost to believe the gospel, to repent of sins and to be baptized in order to be saved (read each of these gospel commandments, Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38). Did you think you were freed from sin without obeying Jesus? If so, the call of the gospel is still being delivered to you. Obey the gospel of Jesus now to be freed from your sin.
24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:24–8:1, NKJV)
Paul is describing the lost man who is under law, under sin in verse 24. The law of Moses could not rescue him from sin’s death; it magnified the problem of sin (Rom. 7:13; 5:20). This man is “carnal, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). He is “dead in trespasses and sins” because sin is ruling him (Eph. 2:1-3). He is lost in sin, miserable and consumed by death (Rom. 6:23). (He was not born this way; he chose to sin, Rom. 5:12). Lost in sin, he is sin’s slave, serving sin with the flesh. The sinner can only be rescued from sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is no condemnation in Christ – thank God! The sinner puts on Christ when he is baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; Matt. 28:19). Once in Christ, he is saved from sin’s death. Now, he lives according to the Spirit of truth and serves God, no longer indulging the sins of the flesh. Are you lost? Christ will save you. Come to Jesus in faith and enter a saved relationship with Him by being baptized into Him. He is ready and willing to save you.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:16–18, NKJV)
Everyone, including Christians, will stand before the Lord and be judged by His truth (2 Cor. 5:10). Already the judgments of God are applied to His house, the church. The righteous are saved with difficulty – the strenuous effort of the devoted life of faithfulness to Christ (see 1 Pet. 4:16). Therefore, the outcome of those who do not obey the gospel of God becomes evident. The ungodly and the sinner face the certainty of divine wrath on the day of God’s judgment. Surely this is incentive for everyone who fears God to repent and live by faith. Those who glorify God as faithful Christians will escape the eternal suffering of sin’s punishment. Will you?
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, NKJV)
Given by grace, salvation is the gift of God. This great and marvelous truth is confirmed in Romans 6:23, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. God’s gift of salvation is obtained “through faith”. Faith is the sinner’s response to the gospel (which is the “word of His grace”, Acts 20:24, 32). Faith comes by hearing the word of God, therefore, one cannot be saved without knowing and believing the gospel (Rom. 10:17). But, salvation “through faith” is not faith “only”, since confession of one’s faith, repentance of sins and water baptism are necessary actions of faith inseparably connected to salvation (see Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21). When a person with faith obeys the “gospel of the grace of God” he does not merit his salvation (“not of works”); he accepts God’s gift “through faith”. Faith that is void of obedience is not salvation faith. What kind of faith do you choose to have today?
30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household. (Acts 16:30-34)
Too many people stop at verse 31 when telling the lost how to be saved. Clearly, one must “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” to be saved. But since “even demons believe–and tremble”, there must be something more to believing than mental assent (James 2:19). Verse 34 says the jailer and his house “rejoiced, having believed in God”. So, how to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” is found in verses 32-33. Faith was produced by hearing the word of God (v. 32; Romans 10:17). Repentance is implied in the washing of the stripes that were faithlessly applied and ignored (vss. 33, 23). With believing repentance they were immediately baptized (v. 33). After hearing, believing, repenting and being baptized came the rejoicing of salvation; now they “believed in God” (v. 34).
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
Water baptism is commanded of all who want to be saved from their sins by Jesus (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:37-38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). Many have distorted the Biblical purposes of baptism, but the Scriptures continue to teach us the truth. Sinners are baptized into three things according to this passage. First, one is baptized “into Christ Jesus” (v. 3). Baptism is an action of faith that brings one into a saved relationship with Christ. Clearly, one is outside of Christ until he is “baptized into Christ”. Second, one is baptized “into His death” (v. 3). The benefit of Christ’s death is obtained when one is baptized “into His death”. That is when Christ “washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5). Third, one is baptized “into death” (v. 4). When baptized, sin’s death no longer claims the sinner. He or she is raised from the death of sin by the power of God to newness of life in Christ (Col. 2:12). These are among the reasons water baptism is essential for our salvation in Christ.
8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” 9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” 10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (John 9:8-11)
What if you had been this blind man? Would you have gone to the pool of Siloam and washed as Jesus instructed? Or, would you have said, “any water will wash the mud off my eyes – why should I go to that pool?” It would take faith to do what Jesus said. If you did wash your eyes like this man, would you have earned the right to have your sight restored? No, and neither did this man. God was gracious to him when he put his faith in Jesus and followed His instructions. Yet today, when the same Jesus says “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”, many sinners object (Mk. 16:16). Why not have the faith to go to the water and be baptized to be saved (to have your spiritual sight restored)? You will not earn anything when you do. You will be saved “by grace, through faith”. We cannot expect to be saved if we do not have the faith to do what Jesus said.