God desires all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4). So, He sent Jesus
to earth to preach the gospel and die for our sins (Jn. 1:1-14;
3:16; Rom. 3:25; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10).
In this article, we go to God's word to learn what we must do to
We Must Obey Jesus
Jesus is the source (author) of eternal salvation to those
who obey Him (Heb. 5:9; cf. Heb. 12:2).
People who obey Jesus will go to heaven (Heb. 5:9; Rev. 22:14).
But, people who disobey Jesus will be cast into the lake of fire
(Rev. 20:15) and be eternally separated from God (2 Th. 1:8-9).
What has Jesus commanded us to do?
While Jesus was on earth, He preached the gospel (Matt. 4:23).
Before ascending into heaven, Jesus commissioned the apostles (Matt.
28:18-20) who became His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20).
Jesus commands us to believe that He is the Son of God (Jn.
8:24). If we believe that Jesus is God's Son, we will obey Him and
be saved (Heb. 5:9). If we do not believe and obey, we will be lost
(2 Th. 1:8-10).
Faith comes by hearing God's word (Rom. 10:17). We must believe
and obey the things revealed in God's word (Rom. 6:17; 2 Tim. 3:15-17;
1 Pet. 1:22-23; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Jn. 1:9). And, we must reject the doctrines
of men (Matt. 15:8-9; 1 Cor. 4:6; Col. 2:20-23; 3:17; 1 Pet. 4:11).
Jesus commands us to repent. If we do not, we will perish (Lk.
"Repentance" is a change of mind resulting in a change of action.
We repent of our sins when we make the decision to change our lives
to live in obedience to God. We no longer obey sin in its lusts
(Rom. 6:12), but we obey God (Rom. 6:17; Heb. 5:9).
We must repent before being baptized for the forgiveness of our
sins (Acts 2:38). After being baptized, we must repent of sins we
commit as God's children (Acts 8:22).
If we confess Jesus before men, He will confess us before His
Father and the angels. But if we deny Jesus before men, He will
deny us (Matt. 10:32-33; Lk. 12:8-9).
The apostle Paul says that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus
is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead,
we will be saved (Rom. 10:9). Because, with our hearts we believe,
resulting in righteousness, and with our mouth, we confess resulting
in salvation (Rom. 10:10).
After rising from the dead, Jesus commissioned the apostles
to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature
(Mk. 16:15). He commanded them to make disciples of all nations
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
Spirit (Matt. 28:19). He told them that the people who believe and
are baptized would be saved. But, people who disbelieved would be
condemned (Mk. 16:16).
The word "baptize" is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning
to dip, to immerse. Baptism is a process of immersion in water and
emergence out of water.
What does the Bible tell us about baptism?
- We must be baptized to be saved (Mk. 16:16).
- Our sins are forgiven when we are baptized (Acts 2:38).
- Our sins are washed away when we are baptized (Acts 22:16).
- We are saved when we are baptized (1 Pet. 3:21).
- We come into contact with Christ when we are baptized (Rom.
6:3; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27).
- Babies cannot be baptized into Christ. Men and women (Acts 5:14;
8:12) who believe, repent, and confess Christ can be baptized
into Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:36- 38).
Jesus commands us to be faithful until death (Rev. 2:10). Faithful
Christians are given a crown of life (Rev. 2:10).
Christians who do not remain faithful, fall short of God's grace
(Heb. 12:15; Gal. 5:4) because they cease from obeying the truth
(Gal. 5:4, 7).
Examples of Conversion
There are nine examples of conversion in the Bible.
Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5-47)
People who believed (Acts 2:44), asked Peter what they should
do (Acts 2:37). Peter commanded them to repent and be baptized in
the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts
2:38). The people who obeyed Peter were saved and added to the church
Samaritans (Acts 8:4-13)
Men and women who believed Philip's preaching (Acts 8:4-5,
12-13) were baptized (Acts 8:12).
Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-40)
The eunuch believed Philip's preaching concerning Christ (Acts
8:35, 37). He believed, confessed Jesus to be God's Son, and was
baptized (Acts 8:36-39).
Paul (Acts 9:1-20; 22:16)
Paul saw the Lord in a vision. Afterwards, he was blind for
three days during which time he prayed (Acts 9:3-9, 11). Paul was
commanded to be baptized, and wash away his sins calling on the
name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).
From Paul's conversion, we learn that we cannot be saved by praying.
And, we learn that we must be baptized to wash away our sins calling
on the name of the Lord.
Cornelius (Acts 10:34-48)
Peter preached to Cornelius and his household the things commanded
by the Lord (Acts 10:33). He commanded them to be baptized (Acts
From Cornelius' conversion, we learn that someone can be a good
person (Acts 10:1-2, 22), but he must believe and be baptized to
be saved (Acts 10:43, 48).
Lydia (Acts 16:13-15)
Lydia and her household were baptized (Acts 16:15).
Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:25-34)
The jailer asked Paul what he must do to be saved (Acts 16:30).
Paul told him to believe in the Lord Jesus (Act 16:31). Then, Paul
spoke the word of the Lord to the jailer and his household after
which they were immediately baptized (Acts 16:32-33).
Crispus, Corinthians (Acts 18:8)
Those who heard and believed the gospel were baptized (Acts
Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7)
Paul preached the gospel to men who had been baptized into
John's baptism (Acts. 19:3). After hearing the gospel, they were
baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:5). From the Ephesians'
conversion, we learn that people who have been baptized with a baptism
other than Christ's must be baptized with Christ's baptism to be
Jesus commands us to:
- believe (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:16; Jn. 8:24; Heb. 11:6).
- repent (Lk. 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38).
- confess Him (Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:10).
- be baptized (Matt. 28:18-19; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1
- remain faithful until death ( Rev. 2:10).
People who obey Jesus will go to heaven (Heb. 5:9; Rev. 22:14).
People who disobey Jesus will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev.
20:15) and be eternally separated from God (2 Th. 1:8-9).
The Thief on the Cross
Some people think that we do not have to be baptized to be saved
because the thief on the cross was not baptized. This allegation
First, we do not know whether the thief was or was not baptized.
He may have been baptized by both John the Baptist and Jesus' disciples
(Matt. 3:1-12; Jn. 4:1-2).
Second, the thief lived during a time when Jews were saved by obeying
the law of Moses. If the thief was a Jew, he may have offered the
sacrifices required by the Mosaic Law to be saved. God did not change
the Law until Christ died (Heb. 7:12-14).
Third, the thief may have been a Gentile. He may have been saved
by meeting the terms of salvation for Gentiles (Rom. 2:1-16).
Fourth, Jesus may have forgiven the thief's sins without him meeting
the terms of forgiveness under any of God's laws. But, that did
not change the terms of salvation for anyone living then or today
(cf. Lk. 5:17-26).
When Jesus told the thief that he would be in paradise with Him,
we do not know whether Jesus was stating a fact or whether Jesus
forgave his sins. We cannot disobey the commands to be baptized
in order to be saved (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:16) even if Jesus
forgave the thief's sins.