What is involved in humbling oneself to receive salvation? Would Christ save one who is not willing to publicly confess Christ and be baptized?
Hello A______ ,
Thank you for your question. It points up what is germane as to the condition for salvation.
Salvation is by grace through faith, and not of works (Eph. 2:8-9). Therefore, public confession through baptism is not a part of the condition for salvation. A spouse ought to be willing to wear their wedding ring and be identified publicly as a married person, but wearing the ring is not a condition for becoming married. Similarly, a saved person ought to be willing to get baptized and identify publicly with Christ, but baptism is not a condition for becoming a Christian.
Since the natural man cannot understand the things of God, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin (the problem), righteousness (the need for divine righteousness to be accepted by a holy God), and judgment (the consequence for sin). The “humbling” you speak of must be in relation to these three truths. Anything beyond these truths the natural man is not able to spiritually understand. Since sin is the problem and judgment is the consequence, people must depend on Christ for the salvation they need. That choice of faith (revealing a change of mind) is the simple condition for salvation.
Once saved, a new believer ought to be willing to identify publicly with Christ by means of baptism. But it is possible for a new believer to be so secretly. For example, Joseph of Arimathea was “a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews” (John 19:38). The un-surrender of not be willing to be baptized does hinder someone’s walk of obedience with the Lord. But it does not constitute whether or not one is saved.
Suppose someone came to me and said, “I know I’m a sinner and need to get saved. I want to trust Jesus. But there is no way I could get baptized.” I would encourage him to just come to Jesus and depend on Him to do all the saving. I would tell him that when he trusts in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will move into his spirit and will bring him along in the matter of baptism. But first things must be kept first. He needs to believe in Jesus. Then the indwelling Spirit can bring him along.
It is vital to keep the focus on Jesus as the one who does all the saving, and therefore, faith as the only condition for salvation. Once Jesus moves into a new believer, then other matters can be addressed in the light of the new believer’s new provision of the indwelling Christ.