Many people are taught that all they have to do to be saved is believe in God and Christ, say the sinner’s prayer and let Jesus into their heart. While such a plan of salvation is widely taught in denominations, it is not taught in the scriptures. There is no such example anywhere in the New Testament of anyone being saved by saying the sinner’s prayer. In fact, what denominations call the sinner’s prayer is not found in the scriptures at all. Jesus told the apostles to teach the gospel to everyone, and all who believe and are baptized will be saved (Mk. 16:15-16).
The scriptures also teach that it is at baptism that a person’s sins are washed away by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16). When asked by many of the Jews on Pentecost what they needed to do, Peter stated, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized n the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38).
Further, rather than letting Christ into our heart, the scriptures teach that we must come into Him, and the only means taught in the scriptures of coming into Christ is through baptism (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27).
While baptism is practiced in most denominations, it is almost always for the wrong reason. For baptism to be true baptism it must conform to what the scriptures teach on baptism. It must be done in the right way- immersion- and for the right reasons- forgiveness, salvation and to come into Christ.
Cornelius was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” (Acts 10:2). But he needed to be taught more fully what he needed to do be saved. God sent Peter to teach him and his household the gospel of Christ (vs. 5-6), and they responded by being baptized (vs. 48). Through that act of obedience their sins were forgiven, they were saved, they came “into Christ,” they were reborn spiritually (Jn. 3:5; 2 Cor. 5:17), and the Lord added them to His church (Acts 2:47). They became true Christians!
Though Cornelius had believed in God, was devout and prayed always, he was not saved. People who not have been taught what the scriptures actually teach on salvation need to submit to the teachings of scripture and be baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins, just as Cornelius did. Only then can they rest assured of their salvation.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (Jn. 14:15). If you truly love Jesus, you will submit to His will and obey His teachings. If you have been taught wrong, no matter how sincerely you believed you were doing the right thing, you must turn away from that error and obey the truth of God’s word. Be baptized for the right reason and in the right way. You may not be any more dedicated in your mindset afterward than you are right now, but you will be right with God. It definitely matters what you obey. You are at a crossroads. What will you do?…