“Salvation is by grace through faith and therefore cannot include water baptism.  If it did include water baptism, then it would be by works.”

Anyone who has read their Bible knows that salvation is by grace through faith.  I have believed and taught this ever since I became a minister of the gospel.  Water baptism is of no effect at all unless one has proper faith, and proper faith includes water baptism.

Salvation is God’s gift to man.  It is not a matter of meritorious works.  If it were a matter of meritorious works, then it would not be a matter of grace but a matter of works.  But God’s salvation is not for all men unconditionally.  In other words, not all mankind is going to be saved.  This is true not because God wants men to be lost but because some men will not accept His grace.

There are two sides to one’s salvation.  There is God’s side and then there is man’s side.  God devised the plan to save man from sin.  He gave His only begotten Son.  The Son was killed on a cross, buried, and rose again on the third day.  After more than forty days on earth after His resurrection His Son ascended back to Heaven.  The Holy Spirit was sent to various men on earth to guide them into all truth (John 16:13).  While they were preaching the gospel, they were also writing the gospel down for us.  When the complete gospel was written down for us and those men died that had received this gift of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit had completed God’s work as to man’s salvation from sin.  This is God’s side of man’s salvation.  It is complete.

What about man’s side to salvation from sin?  Is there anything he has to do in order to be saved?  Certainly so.  Keep in mind that man is saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9).  Grace is unmerited favor.  No matter what man might do he could never merit salvation from sin.  Man cannot save himself.  But keep in mind that man must receive God’s grace.  Grace does not exclude one’s acceptance of it.  We can reject the grace of God if we wish.  If we do so, then we shut the door of salvation in our own face.

The other day I gave a little boy one dollar but it was based upon his coming a few steps to receive it.  He did not merit the dollar.  It was a gift from me to him.  One young man rejected the dollar in that he would not take a few steps to receive it.  Men are like this sometimes when it comes to being saved.  They will not take the steps to receive God’s grace.  

God’s plan to save man is by faith.  Repentance is an act of faith.  It is faith turning one from wrong to right.  Confession is faith spoken.  It causes one to confess Jesus to be Saviour and Lord.  Baptism in water is an act of faith.  It is faith causing one to submit to Jesus Christ.  Christ said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).  In water baptism Christ washes our sins away in His own blood (Acts 22:16; Rev. 1:5).

Water baptism is not an act of merit but an act of faith.  It is by faith that we have access into His grace (Rom. 5:2).

Malcolm L. HillJanuary 12, 1934- June 26, 2012