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Comparative Theology, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
12- Baptism and the verse: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved
If baptism is essential, why did the Apostles Paul and Silas say to the jailer at Philippi: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts16: 31) and not: "Believe and be baptised", which is proof that belief is adequate for salvation?
The reply to this is that the two Apostles were talking to an unbeliever. No matter what he did, he could not be saved without faith. Therefore, they first had to direct him to faith so that he could be saved. If he accepted the faith then they would explain to him the necessary matters. That is why the following two things happened after they said those words to him:
(a) "Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house" (Acts 16: 32).
(b) "And immediately he and all his family were baptised" (Acts 16: 33).
Thus we should not put before us just one verse and forget all the other verses connected with the same subject. Alongside the belief of the jailer of Philippi, we have to put the baptism of the jailer of Philippi. Alongside the words of the two Apostles: "Believe... and you will be saved", we also have to put before us the words of the Lord Himself: "He who believes and is baptised will be saved" (Mark.16: 16) and in addition, all the verses that are related to salvation through baptism such as (1Pet.3: 21) and (Titus 3: 5).
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