3. The role of the sacrament of baptism in eternal salvation.
A person is justified by faith because of the work of Christ alone. Forgiveness of sins, or atonement, is received by the application of Christ’s blood. Baptism is a gift given as a sign and seal of the Christian’s inward heart-change, and God’s faithfulness in his covenant promise. God’s people necessarily observe his commandments as a demonstration of, never as the meritorious ground of, justifying faith.
(John 5:24) “Truly, truly, I [Jesus] say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
(John 6:63) “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
(John 10:9) “I [Jesus] am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
(Romans 3:20-26, 28) “By works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus … For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
(Romans 6:3-4) “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
(Colossians 2:11-12) “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
(II Timothy 2:19) “God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.'”