Baptism And The Five Views of Mark 16:16

Mark 16:16
16* “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

The first view is one held by those who do not profess to be Christians, but for the purpose of our lesson should be considered.

1. In essence, they would say… HE WHO BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED “WILL NOT” BE SAVED

  1. TWO SEPARATE GROUPS HOLD THIS VIEW…
    1. ATHEISTS – who do not believe in God, heaven or hell, or salvation of any kind
    2. JEWS, MUSLIMS, HINDUS, etc.
      1. Who believe in God (or gods)
      2. But who do not believe that salvation is to be found in Jesus
      3. And that to believe and/or be baptized is contrary to the will of God
  2. BUT THOSE WHO ACCEPT JESUS AND THE AUTHORITY OF HIS APOSTLES REJECT SUCH A VIEW…
    1. There IS a God who offers salvation (contrary to the views of atheists) -1 Ti 2:3-41 Tim 2:3-4
      3* This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
      4* who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    2. Salvation DOES come only through Jesus(contrary to the Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) – 1 Ti 2:5-6; Jn14:61 Ti 2:5-6
      5* For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
      6* who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

      John 14:6
      6* Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

2. Consider a second view… HE WHO “DOES NOT BELIEVE” AND “IS NOT BAPTIZED” WILL BE SAVED

  1. THIS VIEW IS HELD BY “UNIVERSALISTS”
    1. Who believe that God will save everyone eventually
    2. To support their view, they will isolate some verses like 1 Ti 2:6

      1 Tim. 2:6
      6* who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.
  2. BUT THOSE WHO KNOW THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST AND PAUL LIKEWISE REJECT SUCH A VIEW…
    1. Jesus Himself told that there would be few who would be saved – Mt 7:13-14Matt. 7:13-14
      13* “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
      14* “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
    2. Paul warned of those who would not be saved, but would face the wrath of God – Ep 5:5-6

      Eph. 5:5-6
      5* For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
      6* Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Most “Bible-believing, professing Christians” would never treat Mark 16:16 the way the first two views do. But as we consider two more views, we may start hitting closer to “home”.

But please understand…that we do so, desiring to “speak the truth in love”; and we pray that your love for the truth is such that you are willing to serious consider what follows (cf. Ac 17:11).

3. The third “view” then… HE WHO “DOES NOT BELIEVE” AND “IS BAPTIZED” WILL BE SAVED

  1. THIS VIEW IS HELD BY MOST WHO PRACTICE “INFANT BAPTISM”
    1. By “baptizing” (actually sprinkling, not immersing) infants incapable of faith…
      1. They (esp. Catholics) indicate that faith is not essential to salvation
      2. Some (esp. Lutherans) try to get around this by saying that God imparts saving faith to the infant so baptism can still save
    2. By sprinkling or pouring instead of immersion, they also indicate Jesus did not mean what He said (the reason “BAPTIZED” above is in quotes)
  2. BUT SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE, WE MUST POINT OUT…
    1. That faith is a necessary prerequisite…
      1. For baptismActs 8:35-3935* Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.
        36* As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
        37* And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
        38* And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.
        39* When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.
      2. For salvation – Rom 10:9-109* that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
        10* for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
    2. That sprinkling or pouring is NOT Bible baptism…
      1. The Greek word used in the Bible is “baptizo”, and it means “to immerse”
      2. This is why baptism is described in the Bible as a “burial” – cf. Ro 6:3-4; Co 2:12

        Rom 6:3-4
        3* Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?
        4* Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.Col. 2:12

        12* having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

      3. Sprinkling or pouring was substituted in the place of baptism (immersion) hundreds of years after Christ and His apostles
      4. By keeping the “tradition of men” by sprinkling or pouring, we fail to keep the “command of God” concerning baptism – cf. Jesus’ condemnation of displacing God’s commands by traditions of men, Mt 15:3-9
    3. That baptizing infants is without scriptural precedent
      1. There are no commands or examples of infant baptism
      2. Since the prerequisites of faith (Mk 16:16; Ac 8:37) and repentance (Ac 2:38; 17:30) are beyond the infant’s capability, they are NOT suitable candidates for baptism

I am confident that those who hold to the view of sprinkling infants are honest and sincere. But despite their honest sincerity, they are just as guilty of twisting the words of Jesus as are the atheists, unbelieving Jews (and Muslims, Hindus, etc.) and the universalists.

4. But there is another view sincerely held by many, and that is… HE WHO BELIEVES AND “IS NOT BAPTIZED” WILL BE SAVED

  1. THIS VIEW IS HELD BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN SALVATION BY FAITH”ONLY”
    1. That one is saved BEFORE baptism
    2. That baptism is not essential to salvation — This view is held for all practical purposes by most members of various denominations
  2. BUT JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES CLEARLY TAUGHT DIFFERENTLY…
    1. That faith “alone” cannot save
      1. As declared by Jesus – cf. Mt 7:21; Lk 6:46

        Matt. 7:21
        21* ¶ “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
        Luke 6:46
        46* “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
      2. As taught by His apostles – cf. Ro 6:17-18; He 5:9; Ja 2:14,17,20,24,26; 1 Pe1:22; 1 Jn 2:3-5

        Rom 6:17-18
        17* But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,
        18* and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.Heb. 5:9

        9* And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
        James 2:14-26
        14* ¶ What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
        15* If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
        16* and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
        17* Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
        18* But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
        19* You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
        20* But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
        21* Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
        22* You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
        23* and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.
        24* You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith 5)alone.
        25* In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
        26* For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
        1 Pet. 1:22
        22* Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

        1 Jn. 2:3-5
        3* ¶ By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
        4* The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
        5* but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
        6* the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

    2. That baptism IS essential to salvation
      1. According to Jesus – Jn 3:5; Mk 16:16; Mt 28:18-20
      2. According to His apostles – Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ga 3:26-27; Col. 2:12-13; Ti 3:5; 1 Pe 3:21

Again, I believe that those who hold this view are sincere, and are not knowingly twisting the words of Jesus. Yet, I cannot help but think of such people as Paul thought of his brethren in the flesh (cf. Ro 10:1-3).

5. This leads us to the fifth and final view, one that I believe we are compelled to accept… HE WHO BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED WILL BE SAVED

  1. THIS VIEW TAKES THE WORDS OF JESUS AT FACE VALUE…
    1. No explanations are necessary
    2. Jesus says what He means, and means what He says
  2. WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN PREVIOUSLY THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES…
    1. That one must “believe” – cf. Ac 8:36-37
    2. That one must be “baptized” to enjoy the forgiveness of sins – cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16Acts 2:38
      38* Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

      Acts 22:16
      16* ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

CONCLUSION
Which of the five views of Mark 16:16 do you hold to?

  1. He who believes and is baptized “will not” be saved?
  2. He who “does not believe” and “is not baptized” will be saved?
  3. He who “does not believe” and “is baptized” will be saved?
  4. He who believes and “is not baptized” will be saved?
  5. He who believes and is baptized will be saved?

— It should be clear that there is only view which is in harmony with Jesus’ words, as there is only one which does not involve “tampering” with the clear statement of Jesus!

The notes above were adapted from a lesson by Mark A. Copeland (Executable Outlines).

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