"On being baptized to be saved"
Letter to the Editor:
PASUGO, January 1997, p.3
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE in attending your worship service was due to the promise I made to my roommate.
During the worship service, I did not expect to see members solemnly praying. This scene touched my heart, more so when the minister expounded on the true Church which Christ built and which He will save. I learned that one must enter the fold to be saved from God's punishment come Judgment Day.
My confusion set in when I heard Jesus Christ's promise to His chosen people.
In John 14:2-3, He stated:
"In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you maybe also." (New King James Version)
I do not doubt Christ's promise because every promise He spoke will come true. But how about those who believe in Him but have not been baptized? Will they receive salvation or eternal life on Judgment Day?
Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior is, indeed, very important. Apostle John wrote that "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (cf. Jn. 3:16, New International Version).
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (Jn. 3:16, NIV)
On the other hand, those who do not believe in God's only begotten Son have already been condemned (cf. Jn. 3:18).
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (Jn. 3:18, NIV)
Thus, we firmly embrace and uphold the teaching of the Scriptures to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, believing in Christ is not all one has to do in order to be saved. The Bible records this, thus:
"So Jesus said to those believed in him, 'If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples'." (Jn. 8:31, Today's English Version)
Believing in Christ is not enough. For one to be considered His true disciple, he must obey the teaching of the Savior. What is Christ's teaching for a man to become His disciple? One must be baptized to be considered as Christ's disciple (cf. Mt. 28:19).
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Mt. 28:19, NIV)
Those who believe in Christ and have been baptized are the ones assured of salvation as affirmed by the Savior Himself:
"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned" (Mk. 16:15-16, NIV)
Indeed, it is necessary for a man to receive baptism—and not only to simply believe and accept Christ as personal Savor—in order to be saved.
However, not everyone who claims they have been baptized are assured of salvation. Those who have been baptized according to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ are found in one body:
"For we were all baptized by one spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greek, slave or free—and we are all given the one Spirit to drink." (I Cor.. 12:13, Ibid.)
The one body Apostle Paul referred to is the Church of which Christ is the head (cf. Col. 1:18). This is the Church of Christ or Iglesia ni Cristo (cf. Acts 20:28, Lamsa).
And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Col. 1:18, NKJV)
Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood. (Acts 20:28, Lamsa)
Thus, those who have complied with the Savior's command to be baptized and thus be saved are not scattered in different religions but are gathered in one body, in one Church—the Church of Christ.
Note: Verses in smaller font were added for clarity. Emphasis ours.
Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind.______________________________________________________________________________
Study Iglesia Ni Cristo
Iglesia Ni Cristo and the Bible