A question I am often asked is, “Do I believe one can be delivered from sin without being baptized?” To this I must say, “I believe that one, by the grace and mercy of God, can be delivered from sin without being baptized.” For proof of this we need look no further than the criminal on the cross, who cried out to Jesus Christ.
Luke 23:42 “Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
All this man was required to do in order to be delivered from sin was to publicly acknowledge Jesus Christ as his Lord and King. He was never baptized, and he never did any good works. Yet it is written:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been delivered through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God. 9 not of works, least anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Clearly, although it is by grace we are delivered from sin and not by good works, God does expect us to do good works, works which He has prepared beforehand for us to do. Good works will never delivers us from sin, but good works will follow deliverance. Given that God expects us to do good works, why then did the man on the cross do no good works? The answer is obvious he did no good works because he was nailed to the cross. You could say that he was hindered from doing any good works.
Matthew 28:14 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The first thing to note is that we are commanded to go make disciples. We have not been commanded to go and deliver souls. It is not we who deliver souls; it is God who delivers souls.
However, if we go preach the gospel (which is the good news of repentance and the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ) we are promised that those who believe and are baptized will be delivered from sin.
Given; 1: Jesus Christ commands us to go make disciples and baptize them. 2: Jesus Christ promises us; those who believe and are baptized will be delivered. Perhaps instead of asking; “can one be delivered without being baptized,” we should be asking the same question the Ethiopian asked Philip. “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:6b)
Can one be delivered without being baptized? Clearly Cornelius and his house whole were not only all delivered, they were also all filled with the Holy Spirit without being baptized. When the apostle Peter saw this he said:
Act 11:47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
No one is ever delivered by water baptism, just as no one is ever delivered by good works. But just as God expects good works to follow our deliverance, so God also expects us to go through the waters of baptism after our deliverance.
What is it that hinders you from being baptized? If there is nothing to hinder you from carrying out the Lord’s command to be baptized, or hindering you from carry out the Lord’s command to baptize those who believe, then do now as he commands. If you are not willing to do as Jesus Christ commands you, then He is not your Lord and King. If Jesus Christ is not your Lord and King, you are in real danger of eternal damnation.