Question:

Good morning sir,

I have been reading about the baptism of John and how he came to make a way for Jesus to come to be accepted, but I am confused about whether his baptism was able to save people before Jesus' baptism in Acts 2:38. If someone baptized by John died before Jesus' crucifixion, was that person saved through his baptism?
Thank you in advance for your help!

Answer:

John's baptism served several purposes:

  • It was in preparation for Jesus' coming (Matthew 3:3; John 1:7-8 also Mark 1:2-3; John 1:15,19-28).
  • It was in preparation for the coming Kingdom (Matthew 3:2).
  • It was for the remission of sins (Mark 1:4 also Luke 3:3-6).

Like every other person who lived prior to the death of Jesus, a person was saved by obedience to God's laws. That obedience was insufficient to save anyone, but once Jesus died, his sacrifice was applied to those who lived before as well as those who would come later. "For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15).

John's baptism granted forgiveness of past sins and assuming a person remained faithful to God, he would be saved because of Jesus' death. Once Jesus died, the law changed. We now are required to be baptized with Jesus' baptism as a part of meeting the requirements for receiving the gift of salvation (Mark 16:16).

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