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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
11- How was the Penitent Thief saved without baptism?
When we reply to this question we say that this thief received the best baptism after whose example we all wish to be baptised. What is baptism but dying with Christ, as our teacher St. Paul says (Rom.6)? The Penitent Thief actually died with Christ and his death became a baptism. Similarly is the baptism by blood attributed to the martyrs who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and were killed at the time of persecution before they had received the grace of baptism by water. Their death became a baptism because they died with Christ like the Penitent Thief. (We have explained this point in our book entitled Salvation).
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