All people who have sinned stand in need of the Lord’s salvation. God’s wonderful message for sinners is that they can be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). Where is redemption found?
In the Christ. We read that truth again in Ephesians 1:7, where it is written, “In whom [Jesus, rdc] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” By the grace of God, the forgiveness of sins is available somewhere. Where? In His beloved Son. How? Through His blood.
We further read in Ephesians 1:3 that God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in the Christ. It is obvious that “in the Christ” truly is the place to be if we want to be saved and enjoy the spiritual blessings that come from the God of heaven. But how does a person get into Jesus?
In order to be saved, it is necessary to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, and those who do not have such faith stand condemned (John 3:16-18). Yet, never in the Bible do we read that one can believe “into” the Christ. How does one become a believer in the Christ? Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17; John 20:30,31), but, again, the Bible never declares that one can hear “into” Jesus.
What about repentance? God commands it (Acts 17:30). Repentance is necessary in order to have sins blotted out (Acts 3:19). However, never does the Bible state that a person can repent “into” the Christ. What about confessing faith in Jesus as the Son of God, like the eunuch from Ethiopia did (Acts 8:36,37)? Just as it is in the case of hearing, believing, and repenting, never in the Bible do we read that one can confess “into” the Christ. To hear the gospel, believe it, and have a heart that is ready to turn away from sins in repentance – all of those are wonderful, and such a person truly is moving in the right direction. Having done all of those, however, one is not yet “in” the Christ. What is lacking?
“Well, what about prayer? Is it not true that the Lord saves those who pray?” When we investigate the book of Acts and consider every case of conversion which is recorded therein, not one single time do we read that a person lost outside of the Christ was told to pray “into” Him. Jesus Himself did not teach lost people to pray for salvation, nor is such a teaching found in the any of the new covenant epistles written to Christians.
“Surely you are not going to tell me that you think being baptized is the way to get into the Christ.” You are correct: I am not going to tell you what I think about it, because what I personally might think about the matter has absolutely no bearing on what is right or required by the Lord. But, if we will read what the Bible says, we will find the Lord’s teaching about how to get into the Christ, and we cannot go wrong with His answers, right?
Two New Testament passages plainly tell us how lost people get into the Christ. They are not a secret. Romans 6:3 says, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.” Read those four words again: “baptized into Jesus Christ.” It also is written, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). How did those people get into God’s Son? The Bible says that they were “baptized into Christ.”
We have no desire to deny what the above verses say about being baptized into the Christ. We have no desire to remove them or try to explain them away. There they stand, crystal clear. Being baptized into Jesus does not minimize the value of faith and repentance. Without water baptism, however, one will remain lost outside of the Lord.
Friend, if you have not yet done so, for your soul’s sake and for the sake of those whom you may be influencing, why not humble yourself and be baptized into the Lord Jesus for the remission of your sins?
After the transition, what then? After one gets into the Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and God expects him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4-6). In Jesus, our commitment is to serve Him daily (Luke 9:23), bear fruit for Him (John 15:1-8), and seek to do all things for His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Easy it will not be, but as we face challenges and trials in life, we must trust in the Lord and persevere unto the end of our time on earth.
— Roger D. Campbell