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Teaching All Nations

What Happens If Someone Dies On the Way To Be Baptized?

The Old “What if someone dies on the way to be baptized” discussion (again.)

Time and again while discussing the importance of baptism this pseudo-sincere question comes up. “If baptism is necessary to salvation then answer me this; if a person is on his way to the church building to be baptized and he is killed in a car accident, will he be saved or lost?"

I want to say first of all these questions are often insincere and meant to somehow ‘trap’ the believer. Second, it smacks of desperation because the questioner for some reason is anxious to make the believer cast final judgment upon a person as though he had actionable power to condemn him. We are not the final judge, God is. 

However, since this insincere question seems to come up again and again, we shall give an answer.

Scenario #1

Suppose with me for a moment that a young man is very interested in a young lady. They’ve been dating for a long time and as a matter of fact they are engaged to be married. They set the date for January 1 of the following year to be married. The day arrives. The wedding chapel is being decorated. The courts have been selected. The day is here and excitement is in the air. Unfortunately, as the groom is on his way to do some last minute things to prepare for the ceremony, agiant truck runs a red light and hits the groom’s car; killing him instantly.

Question: Was the couple ever married?

Answer: No

The intent of marriage was there. The decision had been made. However, the action of marriage had not been completed. Therefore; all the planning, all the decorations, all the aspirations are left incomplete and unfinished. As far as marriage between this groom and the bride it would forever be that way.

Scenario #2

Suppose for a moment that a man is curious about God and the Bible. He is not a believer in Jesus, but he is curious and is open to study with the minister at the building. The minister calls him and sets up the appointment for a Bible study the following day. The building is set and the preacher has prepared the appropriate Bible lesson for the study. Unfortunately, while he was on his way to the church building, the unbeliever was struck by a car and was killed instantly.

Question: Was the man ever a believer in Christ?

Answer: No

The intent of Bible study was there. The decision to study had been made. However, the action of belief had not been completed.  Therefore; all the planning, all the preparations, all the aspirations are left incomplete and unfinished. As far as marriage between this unbeliever and the Christ; it would forever be that way.

Scenario #3

Suppose for a moment that a man has been studying with a minister. The minister has taken his time to lead him gently and kindly to the realization that Jesus is in fact the Son of God. However, the man simply up to this point has not been willing to repent of his own sins. He knows he should. He is considering very hard and deciding whether to give up a life of sleeping around with his live in lover. However, he hasn’t yet repented. On his way to meet up with the good minister for a continued study of salvation unfortunately the man is likewise killed in vehicle accident.

Question: Did the man ever repent?

Answer: No

The thought of repentance was there. The decision to repent was at least on his mind. Yet, the action of Repentance had not been completed. Therefore; all the planning, all the preparations, all the aspirationsare left incomplete and unfinished. As far as marriage between this impenitent believer and the Christ; it would forever be that way.

Scenario #4

Suppose for a moment that a man has been studying with a minister. The minister has taken his time to lead him gently and kindly to the realization that Jesus is in fact the Son of God. The man has come to learn about repentance and he has even told the minister that he wanted to repent. However, the man up to this point was not willing be immersed in water for the forgiveness of sin. In the night he decides that he should get baptized. The following morning on his way to meet up with the good minister for a continued study of salvation and the hope of Baptism the man was likewise killed in vehicle accident.

 

Question: Was the man ever baptized?

Answer: No

The intent was there. The decision had been made. However, the action of baptism had not been completed. Therefore; all the planning, all the preparations, all the aspirations are left incomplete and unfinished. As far as marriage between this unsaved believer and the Christ; it would forever be that way.

The same Jesus that said:

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)

And inspired:

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10)

And:

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,

Also said:

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

The same mouth said:

…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

Paul tells how the "new birth" happens:

 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. (Romans 6:3-6)


If a person dies and yet he walks in newness of life; the only way this can happen is by being born again. But, Paul states, that this event happens at the action of baptism.

The fact of the matter is: the car accident analogy is easily answered by scripture and logic.

It turns out that if a person has to do ANYTHING at all as pertaining his salvation; then the same ‘car accident’ question must be dealt with.

The only consistent way to argue this analogy is to either:

  1. Accept that baptism is necessary to salvation (as the Bible teaches).
  2. Deny that belief, repentance and baptism are necessary to salvation (which is contrary to God’s word). 

Comments (2)

  1. willie butler:
    Dec 14, 2017 at 01:45 PM

    Now I know what to say thank you

  2. segun Hillary:
    Jan 04, 2018 at 12:35 PM

    really helpful


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