(How Does One Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?) Question and Answer.
“Do you have to be baptized to enter the kingdom of heaven? My grandparents say so but I am not so sure. I can’t find in the Bible where baptism saves. And what about repentance and confession?”
The answers to your questions are clearly revealed in the Scriptures. To answer the first part, turn to John 3:5. . .
“. . . unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (New American Standard Bible)
“. . . Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (New American Standard Bible)
This passage perfectly explains what one does to be “born of water and the Spirit”. Only when one is led by his faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ to be baptized (as He commanded) does one enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Your statement that you can’t find in the Scriptures where baptism saves may indicate you haven’t studied enough. And that’s okay. Read again Mark 16:15, 16 (above). Does faith save? The answer is clearly, “yes”. Does baptism save? “Yes.” If faith is necessary to salvation (and it is), then baptism is necessary as well. In fact, the Bible plainly says, “baptism now saves you” (1 Peter 3:21a).
You mention repentance and confession. These are also necessary to obey Christ and be saved. But we are not pitting one action against another here. It is necessary to hear the gospel, believe, repent, confess and be baptized. It is not a matter of choosing which one, or two or three of them. We must do them all.
Read carefully the entire book of Acts. And you will see what those people did to be saved and enter the kingdom. . .
- They heard the gospel (Acts 2:36, 37; Acts 8:12).
- They believed (Acts 2:37; Acts 8:12).
- They repented (Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30).
- They confessed (Acts 8:37).
- They were baptized (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12; Acts 10:48; Acts 16:33; Acts 22:16).
God hasn’t changed his mind. The Lord plainly said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. . . Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (John 14:15; Luke 6:46).
I want to help you out further. Next week I will publish two more posts (in the form of simple outlines) that you can use as reference study guides. They will be entitled, “New Testament Conversions” and “What Must I Do To Be Saved?”. Thanks for your question.