I was in a discussion with someone who is a member of the Church of
Christ, and we were discussing the Thief on the Cross. He said that the thief
was under the law and didn't need to be baptized, for after Jesus was crucified
was when he paid for our sin debt, and baptism became necessary for
salvation. Could you comment on that please?
The answer to your question is found in the "eternal gospel" (Rev 14:6), mankind has always been saved by one gospel and one gospel only--salvation by faith and faith alone.
Note that no one can ever be saved by the LAW, not the thief, no one...."Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." [Romans 3:20]
The LAW only makes us aware of our sin. Salvation comes only by Faith..."For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." [Ephesians 2:8-9] Water baptism is a human "work" in which those who do it "to be saved" boast in their "part" of their salvation, but this is a lie!
In the Old Testament it was also salvation by Grace through faith, not by any act such as circumcision, "Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness." [Genesis 15:6] "If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God." [Romans 4:2] See the tie-in with Eph 2:8-9 ?
No, water baptism is only a required command (work) given to all newborn Christians (after salvation) to testify outwardly what has already taken place in the heart--the death and burial of the "old sinful person" and the resurrection of the new life in Christ. This is much like the "sign" of circumcision which was to symbolize a circumcised heart.
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:
Bible Bulletin Board
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