Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? What About the Thief on the Cross?
Luke 23:39-43 ESV - 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luke 23:43 - Thief on the Cross
First, we don’t know that the thief was never baptized. Luke 23:42 indicates he seemed to know more than even the apostles, so he could have been baptized with John the Baptist’s baptism before he was put up on the cross. If you are going to use the thief to prove one doesn’t have to be baptized, you better know for sure that he wasn’t baptized. That should go without saying.
Rom 10:9 ... if thou shall … believe … that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved
The thief couldn’t have believed in the resurrection of Christ (as an accomplished fact) – so obviously he lived under a different covenant than we do (else he couldn’t have been saved).
The thief didn’t need to be baptized for basically the same reason that Moses and many other Old Testament saints were not baptized; that is, the New Testament law had not come into effect yet.
Hebrews 9:15-17: And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament ... For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
The thief was forgiven before Jesus died (therefore was not forgiven based upon NT law).
The thief on the cross died before the “great commission” of Mark 16:16 was ever given
Mark 16:16 ESV - 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…
(therefore was not amenable to the command to be baptized in the name of Jesus in order to be saved).
Luke 24:47 (“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”) is the third account of the great commission. Doesn’t this verse make it obvious the great commission was to begin to be preached (begin to be binding) at Jerusalem?
And wouldn’t “at Jerusalem” be referring to the day of Pentecost (Luke 24:49)?
Luke 24:49 ESV - 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Acts 1:8 ESV - 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
And the second account of the great commission is where Jesus required water baptism for salvation. Do you see then why the thief did not have to be baptized to be saved?
Whosoever Shall Call Upon The Lord Shall Be Saved... Is A Game Changer!
Rom 10:13 reads “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
"Whosoever" = Jew or Gentile
Eph 2:11-16 - NASB - 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," [which is] performed in the flesh by human hands-- 12 [remember] that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both [groups into] one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, [which is] the Law of commandments [contained] in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, [thus] establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
"Whosoever Shall Call Upon The Name Of The Lord Shall Be Saved" in Rom 10:13 is a quote from Joel 2:32 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered ..."
“Calling On The Name Of The Lord” is clearly necessary to salvation. But how does one call on the name of the Lord? We better know what it means if it is necessary to salvation.
Let’s continue reading verse 14 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Do you see how this verse makes it clear that one can’t call on the name of the Lord until after they have believed?
So, How do we call on the name of the Lord?
Acts 22:16 NKJV - 16 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'
Consider what Jesus said...
Mark 16:16 - 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved...
Also consider Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And then notice verse 38 of the same chapter “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ….”
Peter told them they needed to call on the name of the Lord to be saved from their sins in verse 21, and then told them exactly how to do that in verse 38 “… Repent, and be baptized … for the remission of sins ….”
Have you ever repented and been baptized for the remission of sins? Do you need to "call on the name of the Lord"?
What type of worship does God show that He desires of His Covenant people? Comparing the Old and New Covenants...
Let God Answer This.
Old Covenant Worship: What kind of worship did God desire of His Old Covenant People?
Examples of Musical Worship In Israelite History: Singing & Physical Instruments
“1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” (Exodus 15:1, ESV)
“20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”” (Exodus 15:20–21, ESV)
“6 And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim that belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord who sits enthroned above the cherubim. 7 And they carried the ark of God on a new cart, from the house of Abinadab, and Uzzah and Ahio were driving the cart. 8 And David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, with song and lyres and harps and tambourines and cymbals and trumpets.” (1 Chronicles 13:6–8, ESV)
“27 David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as also were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the music of the singers. And David wore a linen ephod. 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.” (1 Chronicles 15:27–28, ESV)
“41 With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever. 42 Heman and Jeduthun had trumpets and cymbals for the music and instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were appointed to the gate.” (1 Chronicles 16:41–42, ESV)
“12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; 13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud,” (2 Chronicles 5:12–13, ESV)
“26 The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 Then Hezekiah commanded that the burnt offering be offered on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord began also, and the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 The whole assembly worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded. All this continued until the burnt offering was finished.” (2 Chronicles 29:26–28, ESV)
“10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” (Ezra 3:10–11, ESV)
Instructions to the Israelites: Singing & Physical Instruments
“3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!” (Psalm 150:3, ESV)
"...the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the Lord, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord... (Ezra 3:10-11)
“6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!” (Psalm 98:6, ESV)
New Covenant Worship: What type of musical worship does God desire from His New Covenant People (Christians)?
Examples of Musical Worship in the Gospels & Acts: Singing
“30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30, ESV)
“25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.” (Acts 16:25–27, ESV)
Instructions of the Apostles for the Church: Singing From the Heart
“18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 5:18–20, ESV)
“16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16–17, ESV)
“13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” (James 5:13, ESV)
“15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” (Hebrews 13:15, ESV)
“4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4–5, ESV)
The dangers of alcoholic drinks and why a Christian would want to avoid them.
Let God Answer This.
As for the dangers: Prov. 23
[Pro 23:17-35 ESV] 17 Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. 18 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. 19 Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. 20 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, 21 for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. 22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. 24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. 25 Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. 26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. 27 For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. 28 She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind. 29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. 34 You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. 35 "They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink."
Then of course there are the condemnations of drunkenness: 1 Cor. 6.9-11
[1Co 6:9-11 ESV] 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Drunkenness is listed as one of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:16, 21).
[Gal 5:16 KJV] 16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
[Galatians 5:19-25 ESV] 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Jesus warned his followers not to be drunk (Luke 21:34).
Luke 21:33-35 ESV - 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 34 "But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church “you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but cannot control his or her drinking (1 Corinthians 5:11-13).
1 Corinthians 5:11-13 ESV - 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."
Romans 13:13 ESV - 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy...
No one who is given over to alcohol should be in the office of elder or deacon
1 Timothy 3:3, 8 ESV - 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. ... 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.
Titus 1:7 ESV - 7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,
Throughout the Bible, God criticizes those who are “heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks” (Isaiah 5:22).
Isaiah 5:20-24 ESV - 20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! 22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, 23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! 24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Excessive drinkers are committing an evil: Isaiah 28:1-8
Isaiah 28:1-8 ESV - 1 Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim, and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand. 3 The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim will be trodden underfoot; 4 and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand. 5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, 6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. 7 These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment. 8 For all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left.
When used improperly, wine is a mocker and deceiver (Proverbs 20:1).
Proverbs 20:1 ESV - 1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Those who “linger over wine” and spend a great deal of time in drinking will find all kinds of woe, sorrow and trouble: (Proverbs 23:29-30).
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. 31 Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. 32 In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.