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If we are already saved in baptism, why do we still need to make a conscious decision to trust Christ for salvation?

Full Question

If a person has been born again through the sacrament of baptism (as in John 3:3, 5), then what need is there to make a conscious decision to trust Christ for salvation since we are already “in Christ” and saved?

Answer

From Scripture we know that the baptismal rite instituted by Christ is a sacramental rite; it is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace, a grace that sanctifies the soul and makes it pleasing to God (1 Pet. 3:21; 2 Pet. 1:4). We also read in John 3:5 and Mark 16:16 where Christ says “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God,” and “he who believes and is baptized will be saved.” Then we read in Acts 19:1-6 and 22:16; Romans 6:3-4, 11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 12:13; and Galatians 3:26-27, where Paul says baptism frees us from sin, makes us children of God, gives us new life, and incorporates us into the Body of Christ. In Titus 3:5, Paul again refers to baptism as the “washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God” (CCC 1215). In Colossians 2:11-12, Paul declares that baptism is “the circumcision of Christ”: “In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”

Catholics do not believe in the Protestant doctrine of “once saved always saved.” Not only was this teaching never taught in the early Church, there is no biblical basis for it, either.

Every Catholic is called upon by the Church to make a “conscious decision to trust Christ for salvation.” But trusting Christ for salvation is not a one-time event (e.g., praying the sinner’s prayer). It is a lifelong commitment. In fact, the Church teaches that “reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the people of God” (CCC 1270).










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4 comments

  1. Silvano Toso Reply

    The thought that “once you receive baptism you are saved” is a valid thought, because it is through baptism that you enter the Body of Christ, of which Jesus is the head and we all are its members. True. In the Body of Christ we are holy, because Jesus is holy. And as long as we are in the Body of Christ this is true. That alone implies that we can also LEAVE the Body of Christ, and we do so by committing mortal sins, to say the least. As soon as you kill a person, for argument sake, you are not holy, that is for sure, and why not? Because that sin throws you out of the Body of Christ. And once you are out, you cannot be saved, unless something happens, meaning your return into the Body of Christ. We receive baptism only once, so how can an already baptised person regain access to the Body of Christ? Through confession. That is why this holy sacrament is of vital importance. Reading the Gospel of Saint John, Chapter 15, Jesus talks about this very special relationship within the Body of Christ, between Himself and His members, us. it is Jesus that says the following in verse 4: “Remain in me as I remain in you. …” The word “remain” says it all. You are in, but please remain inside, because you sure can go outside., and then He continues to say: “Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me”. It is very clear. But Jesus wanted to make sure that we get this message, as in verse 5, He continues saying: “I am the vine you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” Notice that it is not enough to remain in the Body of Christ to be saved, to be holy? He says that “whoever remains in me AND I in him…” Jesus clearly states that it is not enough not to committ mortal sins, thus remaining inside His Body, but that it is also part of the equation that He remains in you. Can I be a member of the Body of Christ and not be part of this Body? Yes. By committing continously 1000s of venial sins, by not burning of love for Jesus, by being indifferent to His sufferings, to His death, to His love, to His graces, to His Divine Mercy, we belong to that class of members of the Body of Christ, that brings Jesus to vomit of disgust “And you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I am going to vomit you from my mouth." (Revelations 3:16), did you notice that Jesus says that He is going to vomit you from His mouth? That implies that you are in His Body at first, in order for Him to vomit you OUT of His Body. Verse 6 of the Chapter 15 of the Gospel of Saint John continues to show this in and out of the Body of Christ: “Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither;…” And further, Jesus puts two conditions for our prayers to be heard and receive what we are asking for: “If you remain in me and I in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” (verse 7).
    This shows me the reality of this Body of Christ and the mistery of salvation. Baptism brings us inside the Body of Christ, sins throw us out of it, and if we do not go to confession and receive pardon, it did not help to be baptised once…. we are doomed. So, that is why it is wrong to suggest that If a person has been born again through the sacrament of baptism (as in John 3:3, 5), then there is no need to make a conscious decision to trust Christ for salvation since we are already “in Christ" and saved, because we do not automatically remian in it, we can push ourselves out of it, through sins.

    1. jennifer Reply

      Um, no. Can I sneak up behind someone …..as in Nacho Libre and baptize them and they are thus SAVED? No. The baptism needed for salvation is baptism by the Spirit……John came to baptize with water “for repentance” (which, by the way and infant doesn’t have the capacity to do…..they cannot feel sorry for sin…and turn from it) JESUS came to baptize with fire and the Spirit. The EVIDENCE that someone has been baptized by the Spirit of the Living God is that they LOVE God and LOVE Jesus. See John 17. Biblegateway simple search, baptism. It’s not that hard to get into the greek and hebrew and pick apart the misleading man made teachings of the catholic church……..I mean no harm, just trying to shed some light.

      1. Lea Leger Reply

        Acts 16 v 15 when she amily were baptise and members of the household were baptised. The early church baptised “entire household, comprising adults, children , infants and servants. Col. 2 v 11-12 Paul confirms that baptism now replaces circumcission as an entry into the New covenant. 1 Cor. 7 v 14 for the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his believing wife and the unbelieving wife consecrated through her husband, otherwise, your children would be unclean but as it is holy. It is the faith of the parents and god parents that ask for the gifts of baptism on behalf of the child which God respond to. .Thats why the Church have the rites of renewal of baptism.Dont fight the truth!!

  2. John Summers Reply

    Very well said

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