Over the past few weeks I have had several people ask about the ‘thief on the cross’ or reference the event and I wanted to address it to hopefully clarify some things.
One of the most common questions I get asked by people regarding baptism is, ‘What about the thief on the cross? How was he saved?’ Usually they are trying to justify why they have not been baptized in Jesus’ name or to argue that baptism is not necessary.
Any teaching that in contrary to the Word of God, that does not teach the necessity of baptism in Jesus’ name is false doctrine. That is not me talking, that is according to scripture.
So, let’s delve deeper into just why the thief on the cross was saved without being baptized and why we now are required to be baptized in order to be saved.
The thief on the cross died under the Law of Moses.
OK, so why are we no longer under the Law of Moses? What changed?
Well, Jesus came, died and was resurrected. Everything changed.
We humans just could not hold to the commandments. We kept sinning again and again. We could not get away from it and we were falling farther and farther into our sin as we became more and more of the world. The human race was lost to sin, to satan.
Then Jesus came, a perfect, sinless human. He lived a sinless life then shed His blood when He died on the cross to save us from the world, from sin. He paid with His life to buy us back so that we could have the chance to live eternally by Him.
That chance is available to all. According to the Word of God, we must believe in Him, repent of our sins and be baptized in His name (the name of Jesus) by immersion for the remission of our sins. And we need to be filled with the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
This is explained throughout scripture and is demonstrated in scripture again and again.
The important thing, though, is the name. You must be baptized in the name in order to inherit the authority that comes with the name. If you have not been baptized in the name of Jesus then you have no authority to invoke the name of Jesus for anything. You may be able to say it, but they are just words. You have no authority because you have not been reborn into the family under the name of Jesus.
That is why it is so vital to be baptized in the name of Jesus and not under the titles. Being baptized under the titles will just get you wet. Being baptized in the name, the name of Jesus Christ, will bring you into that family, under His authority so that you can spend eternity with Him.
You can learn more about baptism in Jesus’ name by reading Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?