Over the years, I have heard people say; that when a person "Believes On The Lord" that it is at that point at which they were saved, and that water baptism is not necessary to be saved. They say that salvation is only by faith and when one accepts the Lord as their personal savior.
I completely believe that for a person to be saved, that they have to first have faith in God and believe in Him; scripture teaches we must believe and confess our sins. However, when we look into scripture; is it possible that there is more to being saved then just "Believing On The Lord?"
The questions a sincere truth seeker should ask is where does faith, grace, the blood of Jesus and the baptism of the Holy Ghost apply. I often here these same people say that when they "Believed on the Lord" that they were automatically filled with the Holy Ghost, and didn't speak in tongues. But yet, in scripture, anyone who was filled with the Holy Ghost always spoke in tongues. And the most important question that needs to be asked is, when is the blood that Jesus shed applied to our lives, and when does it remit our sins? Let's see what scripture teaches...
JESUS TEACHING ON SALVATION
Jesus taught that for a person to be saved they had to believe, repent, be water baptized and be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Here are just a few scriptures...
Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
The above scriptures tell us that we have to believe, repent, be born again of the water (water baptism) and the Spirit (Holy Ghost baptism) to EVEN ENTER the Kingdom of God.
Concerning the baptism of the Spirit, Jesus makes a connection between someone who believes on the Lord and when and how they shall receive the Holy Ghost baptism.
John 7:37-39 (37) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
What is important to note here, is that when someone believes on the Lord they should receive the baptism of the Spirit. But, notice what time period Jesus is referring to here; a time period when people will be able to receive it in the future; after His ascension into heaven. And in scripture that only pointed to the Day of Pentecost where about 120 people received the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues. Therefore, we can conclude that this lines up with what Jesus taught about Spirit baptism and speaking in tongues, because ALL the believers spoke in tongues (Acts 2:1-4).
SHEDDING OF BLOOD
In the Old Testament, the only way that God was appeased was through the shedding of the blood of animals; whether before the Law or in the Tabernacle during the Law. When a person brought an animal to sacrifice, the shed blood rolled their sins ahead until Jesus became the Lamb that shed His blood. So, without the shedding of blood no one's sins could be remitted. The writer of Hebrews says that without the shedding of blood there is no remission.
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
The word "remission" means... freedom; pardon: - deliverance, forgiveness, liberty. It denotes a cleansing a washing away - to be forgiven.
ZACHARIAS PROPHECIED OF REMISSION OF SINS
In the New Testament, we first are introduced to the remission of sins through Zacharias, a priest and father of John the Baptist. John was going to teach on how to be saved by the remission of sins. For we read...
Luke 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
JOHN THE BAPTIST PREACHES THE BAPTISM OF REPENTANCE
When John came preaching, he taught that repentance (through water baptism) was FOR the remission of sins. John would have his converts repent and be water baptized saying that they were to "believe" on Him that was to come... Jesus! John also taught that this Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire!
Luke 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance FOR the remission of sins;
Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
JESUS TAUGHT REMISSION OF SINS
When Jesus came teaching, He taught repentance and the remission of sins. But, He also stated that this doctrine was to be taught and administered in His (Jesus) name. And then, notice, He taught them to tarry in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father... which was the Holy Ghost (the Comforter). This is what we mentioned earlier about the Spirit being poured out on the Day of Pentecost... the birth of the Church.
Luke 24:46-49 (46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: (47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) And ye are witnesses of these things. (49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
JESUS' BLOOD WAS SHED FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS
Because Jesus was that perfect Lamb sacrifice, He would have to shed his blood to pay for our sins. At the last supper Jesus connects His shedding of blood to remission of sins!
Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
JESUS' LAST COMMAND
Just before Jesus ascended back into heaven, He commanded the Apostles to go and teach water baptism in the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Above we mentioned in Luke 24:47, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in HIS NAME. So, the scriptural command below was not the words to be pronounce over someone (Father, Son, Holy Ghost), but instead they were to be spoken in THE NAME of Jesus Christ... for that is the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
Mat 28:19-20 (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
Now, after the death of Jesus, his resurrection, and His final commands, He told them to go and tarry in Jerusalem until they receive the promise (Holy Ghost). He then ascended back into heaven and the Holy Ghost was poured out on all those that believed.
Act 2:1-4 (1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
This is the baptism of the Spirit that Jesus said a believer would receive in John 7:37-38; and that someone MUST have to even enter the Kingdom of God. This is the born again experience as stated in John 3:5!
PETER PREACHED REMISSION OF SINS
On that day, the Jews questioned what was happening and Peter preached Jesus unto them. They were convicted in their hearts for having Jesus crucified and they asked the Apostles... "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"; Peter's reply was...
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Notice that Peter taught exactly what Jesus told him to teach... 1) Repentance; 2) Water baptism in Jesus Name; 3) The baptism of the Holy Ghost!
But, lets really look at the water baptism part of the salvation plan. We have to know assuredly that Peter did not disobey the Lord by baptizing in Jesus name because the NAME of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is JESUS! He obeyed the Lord!
There is a connection between water baptism and the remission of sins!! Notice that Peter stated that everyone is to BE BAPTIZED in Jesus Name; (notice this next word)... "FOR" the REMISSION OF SINS.
What this is telling us is that the REMISSION (washing away) of our sins IS DONE WHEN WE ARE BAPTIZED in Jesus name. Therefore, since Jesus' blood is for the remission of our sins, then the blood of Jesus is APPLIED to our lives WHEN WE ARE BAPTIZED in Jesus name!!!
Peter again, preached this same thing and these believers received remission of sins when they were baptized and also when they received the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues. And then notice the last very important part of the verse below... Peter COMMANDED them to BE BAPTIZED! Why? Because that is how their sins were to be remitted!
Act 10:43-48 (43) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (44) While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (45) And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. (46) For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, (47) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
FORGIVENESS vs REMISSION OF SINS
When a person confesses and repents of their sin, it is at this point they are forgiven. After all, this prayer is when a person asks God to forgive them. Then when a person continues in the salvation process they will be water baptized for the remission of their sins. Even though they were forgiven when they repented, their sins are still on their "account" until they are washed away for the remission of sins.
We know this to be true because in scripture and even today, many receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost after repenting and before they are water baptized. God gives a person the Holy Ghost because He accepts their prayer of repentance.
FAITH-GRACE IN JESUS' BLOOD
Now, as I wrap this up, where was the idea of FAITH and GRACE in all of this? Simple, when a person "believes on the Lord" that is when they place their trust (faith) in the grace and blood of Jesus Christ. And because the blood of Jesus is linked with water baptism and the remission of sins, we can only conclude that when a person believes (has FAITH) and repents that they will act upon that faith and receive the remission of sins by being baptized and getting the Holy Ghost!
Rom 3:23-25 (23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
And notice the scripture below. It is not works of our own righteousness, but through His mercy (faith-grace) He SAVED us --- (notice the next word) --- "BY" the washing of regeneration (that's water baptism) and the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Spirit baptism). So, we can see that Faith and Grace leads us to be water baptized and baptized with the Holy Ghost!
Tit 3:5 (5) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, BY the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
WE ENTER GOD'S PRESENCE THROUGH JESUS' BLOOD
When Jesus stated that for a man to even ENTER the Kingdom of God through water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit; He was telling us how we can get into the presence of God, into His Kingdom now. Now, let's look at the scripture below...
Heb 10:16-22 (16) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (18) Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. (19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (21) And having an high priest over the house of God; (22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
What I love about this scripture is that it is through the blood of Jesus we have entrance into his presence. God actually writes His law in our heart through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Our hearts are sprinkled (cleansed) with the blood of Jesus by being washed with pure water (water baptism).
Also notice, the writer makes a link between "remission" and what is written on the heart and how the heart is forgiven. Because the blood of bulls is no longer offered, we gain access into the holiest of Holies (God's Presence) by HIS BLOOD. And of course as we have seen, water baptism gives us that entrance!
I thoroughly enjoyed doing this study. I have included all the scriptures that mentions the word "remission" and when you see that it links directly to repentance and water baptism, you can clearly see that the blood of Jesus means and does a whole lot more for us then some would have you believe.
I never could understand how some people believe that all they have to do is just "believe on the Lord" and that is all they have to do to be saved. As I stated earlier, I believe that a person has to believe and have faith in God. But it is just the first step to being saved and not the end. So, the conclusion that we have to get from scripture is that a person sin's are not wiped away when they "believe on the Lord", but when they are water baptized in Jesus name. And a person has not truly entered into the Kingdom of God until they receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. So, just think about how many people are missing out on the Holy Ghost power because they fail to see that it is for them today.
I would like to leave you with this one sobering thought in love... Since Jesus commanded repentance, water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Ghost; is it possible that a person that has not followed the Lord's teaching has not truly had the blood of Jesus applied to their lives? And if not, are they taking a chance of missing heaven?