In Mark’s account of the Great Commission, Jesus’ words are clear and simple. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16a). As simple as this is, there are five different views regarding salvation.
The first is, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall not be saved.” There are two groups that believe this statement. Atheists that don’t believe in God, heaven, hell or salvation of any kind. Also, all those that don’t believe in Jesus as the Son of God. This view contradicts the Bible. There is a God who offers salvation (1 Tim. 2:3-4), and it is through Jesus only (1 Tim. 2:5-6).
The second is, “He who has not believed and is not baptized will be saved.” This view is held by those that believe that all people will eventually be saved. This view contradicts the Bible. Jesus Himself said that there would be few who would be saved (Matt. 7:13-14). Paul also warned of those who would not be saved but face the wrath of God (Eph. 5:5-6).
The third is, “He who has not believed and has been baptized shall be saved.” This view is held by people who practice infant baptism. By “baptizing” (sprinkling) infants incapable of faith, they indicate that faith is not essential to salvation.
By sprinkling or pouring instead of immersion, they also indicate that Jesus did not mean what He said about baptism. This contradicts the Bible. Faith is a necessary prerequisite for baptism and salvation (Acts 8:35-37; Rom. 10:9-10). Baptism is described in the Bible as a burial (Rom 6:3-4). Sprinkling or pouring was substituted in the place of baptism (immersion) hundreds of years after Christ and His apostles. By keeping the tradition of men by sprinkling or pouring, we fail to keep the command of God concerning baptism.
The fourth view is, “He who has believed and has not been baptized shall be saved.” This view is held by those that believe in faith only. They believe that one is saved before baptism, and that baptism is not essential to salvation. This view contradicts the Bible. Faith alone can’t save. This was declared by Jesus (Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46) and by His apostles (Rom. 6:17-18; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:22).
Lastly, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.” This view takes Jesus’ words at face value. No explanations are necessary. This is clearly what the Bible teaches. Belief (Acts 8:36-37) and baptism need to happen before one can enjoy the spiritual blessing of salvation (Acts 8:36-37; 2:38; 22:16). It should be clear there is only one view which is in harmony with Jesus’ words. The next question is, with which of these views is our life consistent?