“Have You Been Saved?”
Jesus said in the Great Commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). To be “saved” from sins means to have the “remission of sins” (Luke 24:47). Our sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7) when we have enough faith in the gospel (and in Christ, John 8:24) to repent of our sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38), confess our faith in Christ (Romans 10:9-10), and be immersed in water (Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16).
The gospel message is the same regardless of who we are, where we live, or our economic status. There are not many roads to Heaven, just one (John 14:1-3; Matthew 7:13-14). Unfortunately, some people know they are lost and have made no effort to accept salvation in Christ. Other people have been misled by false theories and false teachers into thinking they are saved when they are actually lost. This is why there is no more urgent question than the question, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30) Each one of us needs to ask the question, “Have my sins been forgiven by the blood of Christ — have I truly accepted the salvation He gives through the gospel?”
The world today wants to fight against God’s plan and deny the simple statement of Scripture that says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16). Sadly, this simple statement has been distorted by many through the years. Let us compare what the world teaches with what the Bible says.
In contrast with Mark 16:16, ATHEISM teaches, “He that believeth and is baptized shall NOT be saved.” Atheism says there is no sin, there is no Hell to shun, and no Heaven to gain. This is because God Himself does not exist, according to them. This doctrine teaches the exact opposite of the Bible. We cannot be saved by professing atheistic theories (John 8:24).
On the other hand, UNIVERSALISM teaches, “He that believeth not and is not baptized will still be saved.” This doctrine teaches that everyone is going to Heaven. The consequence of accepting universalism is to say that all religious and irreligious people will be saved. Universalism says God will accept us in atheism, Judaism, Mohammedism, Buddhism, Satanism, idolatry, or in anything else we wish to follow. Yet, that is not what Christ said (John 14:1-6; 10:1-2, 9).
CALVINISM teaches, “He that is saved shall believe and be baptized.” This theory claims that God personally chose people to be saved and to be lost, and picked them by name before they were born. The Bible does not teach this. Calvinism comes from the concept of “fate” in ancient Greek philosophies. Jesus commanded that the gospel was to be preached to “all the world” and to “every creature.” All who obey the gospel can be saved; He did not teach that the “elect” or saved people were chosen by God before the world began (Matthew 20:28; Hebrews 2:9; Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16).
The doctrine of CATHOLICISM teaches, “He that is baptized as an infant shall be saved, then he can believe at age 12 in a confirmation service.” Yet, when we study Scripture, we learn that an infant is NOT a sinner, but is born pure and innocent (Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Matthew 18:1-4; Colossians 3:25). Jesus said no sinner can be saved unless he first believes the gospel. The infant cannot believe (Romans 10:17; Mark 16:16). This theory of inherited sin has been passed down in several religious bodies (Episcopal, Lutheran, etc.), but it is not the gospel of Christ. Infants are innocent, but they are guilty of sin when they “grow up” and reach an age in which they choose to yield to temptation and sin (James 1:14-15). Then, they are lost until they are immersed (Acts 2:38).
Lastly, PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONALISM contradicts Mark 16:16 by teaching, “He that believeth shall be saved immediately at the point of faith, and can be baptized later as an act of obedience.” Men such as Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, John Hagee, and Jack VanImpe are just a few of the popular preachers that have taught this human tradition through the years. The most popular religious bodies (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) hold out the same false hope. However, such teaching is not the gospel which saves by the authority and blood of Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).
Some folks might say that we can choose from any of these theories and find our “peace” and “salvation”. Yet, Jesus said that there is just one gospel and one way to accept the gospel! The gospel is the same for “all the world” and “every creature” (Romans 1:16; John 14:6; Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:19; Galatians 1:6-9). Therefore, we ask in love, kindness, and deep concern for your soul, “Have you been saved from your sins?”