42: Salvation by faith, not by works

As this is a personal blog website, every now and then I’m going to step away from the Fundamentalist Science theme and share some other things. Here is a Bible study I did years ago…

Some people, in spite of all the clear passages about salvation, still manage to create doubt and fear that if we don’t do this, that, or the other physical action or have some church official say just exactly the right words over us, we’re still going to be lost. Or they even teach that no matter what else we do, if we fail to do one good work or commit one sin, our salvation is shot and we have to get saved all over again.

It certainly is wrong to be self-confident in our salvation, or to live as we please, or think that it’s enough to recite a prayer without any conviction, repentance, or faith, but it’s also wrong to cast doubt on the clear doctrines of God. We cannot truly put our faith IN CHRIST if we believe our salvation is lost if WE fail to DO something else. Doing other things is important, but we shouldn’t let human reasoning change what we *should* do into something we *have* to do in order to be saved. The following is based mostly on a correspondence I had with a man who believed that getting baptized was required for salvation, although my replies were guided by previous correspondences with people of various beliefs and the general gist applies to them as well.

Question: At what point is a sinner saved? What should well tell people they must do in order to obtain salvation?

Reply: The same as Paul and Silas when asked specifically, “What must I do to be saved?”
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
If it was good enough for Paul, it’s good enough for me.

Most of those who would add something to faith would agree with the statement that faith, or belief, is a work, and quote some verses such as
John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
and
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Thus, if faith itself is a work, then it’s not a big step to saying that it is one of several works required for salvation, right?

Pardon me, but there seems to be a small but crucial misunderstanding of God’s word here. Ever see that Bugs Bunny routine where he’s arguing with Daffy about when Elmer should shoot him? He kept changing one little word: “He doesn’t have to shoot me now” became “He doesn’t have to shoot you now.” As Daffy finally observed in that case, “pronoun trouble.” Here we need to pay attention to the article used. John 6:28-29 is not about “a” work of God, but “the” work of God. It was phrased thus both in the question and in Christ’s response. Certainly there are other works we can do, but “that ye believe on him” (Jesus Christ) “is the work of God.”

The “faith-plus” people also tend to ignore or try to explain away Luke 23:43 — “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” I won’t go into the various explanations, I think it is enough to point out that the message (that simply turning to Christ and putting trust in Him for salvation will be so honored by God) is clear enough for those who are willing to trust in God rather than themselves or religious leaders.

Of course, there are many clear passages on the subject of salvation. God didn’t hide the most important thing for us to know in a few, oblique references. Whenever an important doctrine is expressed in an indirect way, it is also explained in clear and direct language. For example, when Jesus taught that he was the bread of life and we must “eat” this bread in John 6:51-59 (note esp. v. 54), He later explained the parable to His disciples:

John 6: 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. … 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. … 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 [What] and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not.

So we must be very careful not to read our own ideas into parables, metaphors, and things that happened in the Bible. What appeared to the natural human reasoning as an advocacy of some form of cannibalism, Jesus explained as a word picture of obtaining life through the spirit, through believing on the Son, not in a fleshly act of eating His physical body. (See also verses 36-40, 45, 47 — He had already indicated He was speaking in spiritual terms.)

And why should we try to puzzle out what exactly we have to do to be saved, when we are told straight out? These are wonderfully clear and simple:

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
1 John 5: 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. … 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

These passages teach clearly and confidently that belief in Christ bestows the condition of having eternal life — not just the possibility of obtaining eternal life someday, if some other condition(s) are met. It’s really sad that some still refuse to accept this.

Let’s suppose believing is just one of several things we must do to be saved. If so, we’re all in trouble, because there are a LOT of things that the Bible says we should or shouldn’t do, many in some connection with salvation or similar concepts (justification, righteousness, etc). How are we to know which of them we must follow or be damned? Don’t you think God would tell us what will damn us to hell if we lack it? Just what IS absolutely essential to salvation? Whatever the Bible says will keep us out of heaven or from eternal life if we don’t do it. Finding relevant negatives can be a bit harder than positive statements, but these are plain enough.

Mark 16:16 … he that believeth not shall be damned. (the only occurance of “shall be damned”)
2Thes. 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Joh 3:18 … but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And recall Joh 3:36 … and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

These seem to be the only (New Testament) passages that plainly state that if one doesn’t (whatever), the result is eternal damnation, and once again the only “whatever” is believing in Jesus Christ.

But again, even without that, there are enough positive statements to assure a lost soul that believing on the Lord Jesus Christ brings salvation, that whoever believes on Him shall never perish, but has eternal life. It is a free gift from God through faith, and nothing more needs to be said as far as salvation is concerned. Here’s a sampling:

Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our lord.
Rom. 4:16 Therefore [it is] of faith, that [it might be] by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham…
Rom. 5: 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Rom 9: 32 Wherefore? Because [they sought it] not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Php 3:9 … not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Titus 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
II Tim. 1:9 {God} hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Gal. 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:
Rom. 11:6 And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Still, some people try to create a logical wedge that will give them room to save themselves by doing something or other. For instance, “What about repentence? What about confessing Christ? Aren’t those also works we must do?” they ask, and point out that Jesus said “…except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). and “… whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33).

For one thing, neither of these passage is clear in relating these things to eternal damnation (the “likewise perish” in Luke 13 refers to a group of Galileans who had been killed by Pilate, not to souls in hell), and for another, both may well be considered integral parts of calling upon the Lord for salvation. At any rate, repentance (in the Greek, “metanoia,” a “change of mind”) is just what happens when one turns away from sin and turns to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Matthew 10:32 speaks of confession, but in verse 33, Jesus’ denial before the Father is not a reference to a lack of confession, but on an active denial. But apparently even an open denial is not an irreversible path to damnation, for Peter denied Christ three times, even with oaths, but later turned to Him and found salvation. Perhaps the clearest reference relating confession to salvation is Romans 10:10, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” and that also uses parallel structure to tie it in with believing, so confession is part of believing as is repentance — look at it in context:

Rom. 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. … 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. … 3 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Baptism is probably the most frequently cited as an act which must be carried out to obtain salvation. Baptism is obviously something that every Believer should partake of, but the Bible simply doesn’t say it is required for salvation, or that not being baptized results in damnation.

The first verse in the New Testament that might seem to teach salvation by baptism is Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;…”, but recall that the second half, as noted earlier, proclaims that it is *not believing* that ends in damnation. Does a sinner need to be baptized? Yes, he needs to be baptized, but if he is not baptized, is he certainly damned? If baptism were essential to salvation, that would be the place it would be set forth as such; since it isn’t (nor is it clearly stated as an essential to salvation), it appears to be an important adjunct to salvation, but not the essential way to it.

Just what is the way of salvation? Jesus Christ said (John 14:6) “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” To say that something other than trusting in Him (keeping in mind the implication of repentance, etc), would mean salvation is not by the one gift of God, but by the work of man in striving to fulfill all the requirements.

Eph 2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Perhaps THE MOST relied upon passage in support of the belief in salvation by being baptized is Acts chapter 2. If the people at that time, the very first sermon and adding of souls to the number of believers, were told to be baptized and did so, is that not God’s plan of salvation? No, not necessarily. What we find in Acts 2 is NOT the “plan of salvation” but a description of an event that includes people getting saved. What was actually taught by Jesus and His Apostles was that salvation was through faith in Christ (the gift of the grace of God), and that faith would produce or be accompanied by such things as repentance and baptism. The well-known John 3:16 and the verses previously cited here are clear enough on what produces everlasting life, and in this very sermon, Peter explains, (verse 21) “And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But, it is pointed out, the people asked, “What shall we DO?” (v. 37), and Peter replied, (v. 38) “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Right! They said, “What SHALL we DO?” They did NOT say, “What MUST we do TO BE SAVED?” So the reply to the question must be considered in that light, when examining the question of what is absolutely required for salvation. The only time in the Bible someone asks, “What must I do to be saved?” the reply is, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…” Furthermore, was the remission of sins accomplished by the baptism itself, or by their faith in Christ which was demonstrated by being baptized for that purpose on His authority? The latter is indicated by the many previously quoted passages.

The believers in baptismal regeneration also try to support their belief by analyzing this passage further (as I said, it’s THE key passage for them), asking doubtful questions about the heart attitude of those who were “pricked in the heart” (v. 37) and later “gladly RECEIVED his word and were baptized” (vs. 41). Does God tell us in His Word the answers to these questions? No. Then our answers are subject to the flaws of our own reasoning. Any doctrine based on human efforts to puzzle out just what was going on, who believed what and when, etc, cannot be trusted, and when it is contradicted by many clear passages in the Bible, it must be rejected.

And for that matter, it’s not even a convincing argument of human reasoning. It appears to me that the audience experienced a mental assent in regards to Peter’s words, and felt remorse, but their belief had not yet come to the point of believing ON Christ for salvation, so that Peter encouraged them to take that step in baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” The assumption of those who add baptism as an extra requirement is that believing in Christ and baptism must always be considered separately, whereas it appears to me that it was virtually simultaneous at this time.

There simply aren’t any passages in the Bible that clearly say that one must be baptized to be saved, or that not being baptized results in damnation. There is one other passage which some do take as directly teaching baptismal regeneration:

1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

However, anyone who studies this passage with care will take note of the introductory phrase, “The like figure whereunto” and realize it is not speaking in literal terms here. It should also be noted that the figure referred to is found in verse 20: “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” This makes it rather difficult to apply baptism to salvation, as the analogy is only general, since the ark was not a submarine and its passengers were saved *from* the water (as we would say today). Also note the clarification in v. 21 itself that the reference is not to a matter involving the body, but of the conscience. This appears to be another example of “… things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest…” (2 Pe 3:16)

One other great passage that is used in a general sense to support various “salvation by works” views is the book of James, especially James 2:24, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” But how can this be? If this book and chapter is saying that eternal life is obtained by works, then it is in direct contradiction with several other passages such as those previously quoted, and if there were no other such passage in the Bible but Eph 8:28,29, that would be clear enough: “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Salvation is a matter of God’s *grace,* a *gift* of God, not of works; James 2:24 does not say we are not *saved* by faith only, or that one must be saved by faith and works, it says that a man is *justified* by his works.

Now, “justification” *can* be used in the sense of “salvation,” but it has other meanings as well, and we must look to Scripture (and reading with proper regard to context) to learn which, not our own feelings or reasonings. Two verses earlier, James gives faith first place: 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? The whole passage is written to illustrate that a man may show or *prove* he has faith by his works in response to one who may merely “say he hath faith” but has no works. (James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.) Certainly, THAT sort of “faith” is a vain sham. It certainly is possible to go too far in making salvation easy (“easy believe-ism”). Some people seem to think that simply saying the words of a prayer brings salvation, but salvation by faith includes (to spell out things that should be naturally understood) understanding, repentance, committment, sincerity, humility, conversion, etc. The point here is not that we must do works to be saved, but that if we have salvation through true faith in God, we will be changed and do works that will be evidence we can use to justify before men our claim to saving faith. Being baptised is something that all believers can and should do to show (justify) that they are true, sincere believers. While I don’t believe in salvation by works or baptism, I would strongly doubt anyone’s claim to being saved if they didn’t live like it, and getting baptised is the first thing a new believer should be encouraged to do.

Here’s a few more relevant passages showing salvation is a permanent gift of grace from God through faith (believing, trusting) in Christ, leading to changed lives producing works of “good fruit”:

I Peter 1: 3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

John 10: 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and [my] Father are one.

Lu 8: 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. … 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Acts 15: 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I Cor. 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

I Tim. 1: 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

I Tim 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

2 Th 2: 13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now with all that, it should be incontestable that the Bible teaches salvation is through faith in Christ alone, and there are yet more passages concerning this, such as: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25 — see also 9:24-28).

But let’s return to one objection that should be taken seriously, and that is: If all it takes is belief in Christ to be saved, what’s to stop someone from just claiming to believe and then living like the Devil? That is a valid concern, and one which the Bible does address in passages in addition to the ones in James.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Of course doing the will of the Father is doing the work of God, i.e. believing on His Son, as noted above — if you haven’t read it yet: John 6: 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

This is wonderful! I pray you will grasp this beautiful truth.

But who, then, are those in Matt. 7:21? People who profess to believe in Christ, but actually believe in their own works!

Matt. 7:22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

We see here people who did some works that might justify to many men their profession of faith, but they claim salvation not on faith in Christ but in their works. They may even include those who complain that the doctrine of salvation by faith will lead to people not doing enough, or the right kind, of work(s), as Christ illustrated in this parable in Luke 18:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

As for those who go to the other extreme, and claim that they are saved, even though they don’t do any works befitting a born-again child of God, and some even continue to engage in many worldly practices, the book of James is indeed a counter to such claims, and so is Romans 6:

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Although v. 3 is sometimes also applied to baptismal generation, chapters 4 and 5 explain that salvation is by faith:
4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. … 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

What we see in 6:3, then, is the true significance of baptism: a public symbolic act of identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. And as the rest of the chapter explains thoroughly, someone who is truly dead to sin cannot willfully continue in it. Anyone who claims to be saved but will not be baptised, doesn’t attend church regularly, doesn’t care for the needy, and lives an ungodly lifestyle, etc, has no justification in claiming salvation, no matter how often he or she has recited a prayer. It is not the words that are said, how they are said, when they are said, or what acts or rituals accompany the saying of the prayer, but the true heart attitude of turning away from self and the world and believing on Jesus Christ that counts.

True salvation will then produce signs of our commitment to him. The greatest of these is love, of course, especially showing love to the brethren. (see 1John 3:17-18, I Cor. 13, John 13:35).

And of course baptism is very important, and every believer should be baptized by immersion, even those who have been “baptized” as infants. Jesus mentions it in the same breath as believing in Mark 16:16. When those who were moved by Peter’s sermon on “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (which concluded with presenting Jesus as both Lord and Christ) asked what they should do, he had them get baptized as they repented. Paul, too, was directed to be baptized, “calling on the name of the Lord.” In the case of the Ethiopian Eunuch, however, Philip first ascertained that he understood and believed (Acts 8:36-39). Paul and Silas spoke with the jailor and his household in Acts 16, allowed him to cleanse their wounds, and then baptized him (and all his household). The apostles and other disciples apparently weren’t baptized, except probably by John the Baptist (John 4:2), which was before they knew of the new testament. The first full-blooded Gentiles to be saved were first given the sign of God’s “seal of approval” (2 Cor 1:22, Eph. 1:13, 4:30) and then were baptized rather as a matter of course (Acts 10:44-48). Clearly, anybody who truly believes will take this step of public identification if at all possible.