What must I do to be saved?
The Church that Jesus Christ founded began on the day of Pentecost as discussed in Acts 2 of the Bible. On that day according to the scriptures the Holy Spirit came upon the 12 Apostles just as Jesus told them it would. After withstanding accusations of being drunk Peter began to speak to thousands of Jews about this man Jesus.
Let's keep in mind that these were the very Jews that had demanded the Roman soldiers kill Jesus. The reason being he said "He was the Son of God" which in their language meant "He was God" or "had the characterstics of God". They considered His statement blasphemy.
Peter must have had a convincing sermon, because these Jews who so emphatically hated and killed Jesus were sorry they had done so and asked "What they should do?" This was because Peter presented undeniable evidence to them. The 12 men standing before them had watched Jesus and were His witnesses. Even these people had seen Jesus and the miracles He did. Also, Jesus' tomb was empty. And although the guards were being paid to say the Apostles came at night and took the body, the people knew that wasn't true. If it were the soldiers would have killed them. Else the soldiers themselves would have been killed for letting it happen if my understanding is correct.
The important thing is when they asked "What they should do?" Peter told them. He said in Acts 2:38
"Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
3,000 people obeyed and were added to the church that day. Shortly there after, Peter and John were going to the temple to pray in Acts 3. You'll recall they met the blind man who had been lame from birth. He asked for money and instead they healed him. He then went to Solomon's porch (part of the temple) and the people saw him. They could not deny a miracle had been done since they all knew he had been lame from birth.
Peter takes this opportunity to ask why they are marveling. He let's them know once again that it is by the power of Jesus that this happened. Note that the crowd once again consisted of the Jews who saw to it that Jesus was killed. This time Peter said
Acts 3:19 "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
Once again many were baptized and added to the church. Note that Peter used different phrases in Acts 2 and 3. First he said repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. The next time he said repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out. Did Peter say something different to the people or was it the same thing? I pose to you it was the same thing. He said be baptized or in other words become a convert of Jesus' Church.
As time went on we seen in Acts 8 that Philip met the Eunuch. The Eunuch was reading from the prophet Isaiah and could not understand it. Philip explained to him that the prophecies were about Jesus. The Bible simply says
Acts 8:35 "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."
Yet simply after "preaching Jesus to him" the Eunuch asked "What hindered him" from being baptized. He believed in Jesus and was baptized. Would it be safe to say then that if we truly preach Jesus to someone, we also preach baptism to them as Peter and Philip did?
In Acts 9 we find an interesting man. He was Saul of Tarsus, better known to many later as the Apostle Paul. He had been killing Christians because he like many despised and did not believe the doctrine they taught. However he "met the Lord" on the road to Damascus. He like the Jews in Acts 2 asked what he needed to do. He was told to go into the city and there it would be told him what he needed to do.
Paul spent 3 days fasting, etc. Finally Ananias said
Acts 22:16 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'
Saul did just that. He was baptized. His sins were washed away. Would it not then be safe to say that when his sins were washed away he was saved? Isn't that a definition of saved? Having no sins between you and God? Make a note then that although many claim Saul was "saved on the road to Damascus", he actually wasn't saved until he was baptized and had his sins washed away.
Since Jesus was aware many false doctrines would be taught and false teachers and apostates would arise, it seems he spent extra effort to make it clear how to become a member of the Church He established. Although these examples make it clear how to become a Christian, we also have individual verses such as the following.
Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be condemned."
Why do you suppose Jesus said this? Could it be because baptism is what forgives, blots out, washes away, or remits sin?
1 Pet 3:21 "There is also an antitype which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,"
It doesn't get any clearer than this. Baptism is one of several things mentioned in the Bible as being involved in "saving" you. Others include belief, repentance, grace, and works of God. To clarify characteristics of baptism Peter mentioned that baptism didn't just wash filth from the body. Why do you suppose he said that? Do you think it was because people would think when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit filth would be washed from their body, or because when they were immersed with water in the baptism Jesus' disciples baptized with (such as Peter and Philip) that they would think the water was washing filth from the body? I said that to clarify that Peter is speaking of water baptism here. Not "Holy Spirit baptism" as some claim.
As you probably know, the Church Jesus built is considered to be like a body and Jesus is the head (Ep 5:23). Many members compose it. To name a few at the time the book of Corinthians was wrote, Paul mentioned apostles, prophets and teachers just to name a few. He then clarified how you become a member of the body of Christ.
1 Cor 12:13 "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit."
Now some will try to pervert this verse in 1 Cor 12:13. Although the many examples we've already looked at show the baptism being spoken of is water baptism for the remission of sins, some will say "No, it's Holy Spirit baptism". These would teach that when you truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you will be "baptized by the Holy Spirit" simply because of your belief. They say that the Spirit will come upon you as it did the Apostles in Acts 2.
If this were true, King Agrippa would be a Christian, but even Agrippa knew better than that.
Acts 26:27-28 "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe."
Then Agrippa said to Paul,
"You almost persuade me to become a Christian."
Even Agrippa knew, just believing didn't make him a Christian.
As a matter of fact, if this doctrine were true even the demons would be Christians.
James 2:19 "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe; and tremble!"
Is anyone willing to argue that the demons who caused people to roam naked, commit other sins and that Jesus and the apostles cast out are brothers and sisters with saints in Christ?
Like a lot of advertising in the world, there is some false advertising in religions as well. Why don't you turn to the word of God, submit to your Lord in baptism and arise a new creature in Christ?
Rom 6:4 "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Do you suppose the being buried in baptism of Rom 6:4 is being buried in the Holy Spirit or in a watery grave of baptism? Also, when you arise to walk in newness of life, what do you think it's talking about? Could it be that your sins were washed away, you arose a member of the body of the Church Christ built and are now a Christian?