BELIEVING MEANS RESOLVING TO BE BAPTIZED
A popular notion among some professing Christians is that baptism is unnecessary because all one has to do is accept Jesus in one’s heart. In this regard, some note Romans 10:9, which says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Again, the issue here is: What does it mean to believe in your heart? And once again, rather than letting others define what constitutes believing, let’s note what Jesus said.
In giving instructions to His disciples about the work they would do following His return to heaven, Jesus plainly told them: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16, New International Version).
Jesus clearly taught that genuine belief in Him would be coupled with baptism. Other passages show us that baptism includes repentance —changing from a sinful lifestyle to one of obedience to God’s laws (Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38).
When we look at Christ’s teaching and that of His disciples, it becomes clear that when they said we must believe in Christ, this was with the perspective that believing would include baptism. Baptism is an outward symbol of a person’s new life based on turning from breaking God’s laws to obeying God’s laws.
The notion that one can believe in Jesus without obeying His instructions, keeping the commandments and being baptized is a common but biblically flawed perspective. Jesus addressed this same fallacy during His earthly ministry by asking, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
To the contrary, He said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8). Genuine belief in Jesus is not a passive experience. Disciples of Jesus will act on His teaching!
When it comes to deciding what believing in Jesus means, why not believe and act on what Jesus Himself said?