Being Baptized Means Gaining Salvation?
Hello Sister Yang,
Last week you bore witness for me regarding God’s work of judgment and cleansing of the last days. You quoted the Bible during your fellowshiping, and I was totally convinced by what you said. But there are still some things puzzling me. The Bible says, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). After we start to believe in the Lord and are baptized then we are newly-created people in the eyes of the Lord and are qualified forin the kingdom of heaven. So why is God’s work of judgment and cleansing in the last days necessary? I really don’t understand this issue. Please fellowship what you can with me.
Hello Sister Liu,
I’m very happy to have received your letter. You have asked a very crucial question that directly involves the important matter of our gaining salvation and entering the kingdom of heaven. I will try and answer your question briefly according to my understanding, and may God guide us both!
First, we should know that starting to believe in the Lord and being baptized only means that we have accepted the salvation of theand are under His name. And “being saved” only indicates that our sins have been redeemed—in other words, we are not condemned or sentenced to death by law. After accepting the Lord Jesus’ salvation we can pray to Him, confess our sins and repent, and thus gain His redemption and also enjoy a lot of His grace. This is being saved. But being redeemed of our sins doesn’t mean that we have thrown off sin and evil and have become holy. Our default mode of living is to sin in the daytime and confess at night, and so we never shake off the shackles of sin. For example, as soon as we gain a bit of status we start to look down on people and even begin to compete with and scheme against the brothers and sisters to gain wealth and reputation. In order to protect personal interests we are also able to often tell lies and deceive others. When trials occur to us, such as misfortunes and illnesses, we misunderstand and complain to God, and even betray God. If we can’t change our sinful nature then how are we to enter God’s kingdom? The Lord Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever” (John 8:34–35). “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). From God’s words we can see that God is holy and righteous and would never allow anyone tainted and corrupt to enter the kingdom of heaven. Only people who follow God’s commands can go to heaven, and this is determined by God’s righteous disposition. So if our satanic dispositions are not cleansed then how can we say that we are newly-created people?
Almighty God says, “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.” From God’s words we can see that the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption merely redeemed us of our sins but did not redeem us of our sinful nature. Because we have this unresolved problem of our sinful nature—the continuing existence of satanic dispositions such as arrogance, selfishness, greed, cunning, deceit, etc.—it’s very difficult for us to escape the cycle of sinning and confessing. We never manage to shake off the shackles and restrictions of our sinful nature. That’s why we need a stage of God’s work that involves judgment and cleansing. It’s just as the Bible says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48). There are many passages in the Bible that mention God’s judgment, and God’s work of the last days involves judgment and cleansing of our corrupt, satanic nature through His utterances to remove the shackles and restraints of sin from the corrupt mankind and solve the root causes of sin, and help mankind completely escape the influence of Satan, be saved by God, and enter God’s kingdom. After experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement our life disposition will be transformed: We will become more and more conscientious and rational, will be able to practice more truths, rely on God’s words to live, and gradually enter the reality of the truth and attain the likeness of a normal human being. When we gain the truth as our life, then we have a power that can overcome sin and we won’t be slaves to our corrupt dispositions. At that time, we will be God’s newly-created people, people who are reborn after gaining the truth, who will enjoy their share of God’s bounty in the kingdom of heaven.
Sister Liu, I hope the above fellowshiping is of use to you. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Further reading about Sermons About Baptism: