A sky-diving instructor looked out over his class and said, “He who wears a parachute and opens it will live; but he who does not wear a parachute will die.”
Can we understand what one needs to do to survive sky-diving based on this statement? Does this statement make opening the parachute any less essential to surviving sky-diving than wearing the parachute? Is it necessary (and does it make any sense) to add “and does not open it” to the second phrase so it would read “he who does not wear a parachute and does not open it will die?” Is opening the parachute even possible on the part of the sky-diver if he or she is not wearing one?
How easy these questions are to answer – so why do people complicate it when it comes to the scriptures? Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Yet, here is a statement from an article given to me by a believer to explain why baptism is not essential to salvation: Mark 16:16, a verse often quoted to prove baptism is necessary for salvation, is actually a proof of the opposite. Notice that the basis for condemnation in that verse is not the failure to be baptized, but only the failure to believe. (From “Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?” by John MacArthur)
Can you see the fallacy in that statement? The condemnation does not have to include baptism because true baptism is dependent on belief. If you don’t believe, you might get dunked in water-but you aren’t going to be baptized any more than someone without a parachute can open one. A failure to believe of necessity mandates a failure to be baptized-because you can’t perform the second action (baptism) without the first (belief). Immersion in water (baptism) for the remission of sins can only occur with repentant believers (Acts 2:38).
But just like wearing the parachute alone isn’t enough, believing alone isn’t enough. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” So it really comes down to this: do you want to be saved or condemned? Believe and be baptized, as Jesus commanded, and be saved.
— Reagan McClenny