I need help with the following question: Does Luke 7:48-50 prove that we do not need to be baptized to be saved?
Can you help me with an answer that shows that these verses are not inconsistent with the teaching that baptism is essential for salvation? It is being argued that since the woman's sins were forgiven and no mention of being baptized; therefore, baptism is not necessary to be saved. Since it states that her faith had saved her and to go in peace that this proves that baptism is not essential, since there is no mention of it.
If you could help me I would much appreciate it.
"The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever" (Psalms 119:160). When a person has to make an argument based on denying everything else the Bible teaches on a subject, falsehood is being promoted.
"Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."" (Luke 7:48-50).
The core problem is that the person is ignoring the context in which these statements are being made. Who is it that pronounced the woman's faith was sufficient for salvation? It was Jesus Christ. It wasn't the woman nor any other human. Yet, who is wanting today to say faith is enough to save? It is the person himself. Now, if he can show that Jesus said he had sufficient faith to be saved, I would respect the argument, but he has not been in the presence of Jesus.
Under what law was this statement made? Well, Jesus had not died on the cross yet (Colossians 2:13-14; Ephesians 2:14-16). The Old Covenant was still in effect and it did not command baptism for the remission of sins, unlike the New Covenant (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-7; I Peter 3:21). If this person was living under the Old Covenant at the time, perhaps he would have a point. But the Old Covenant has been taken away. "He takes away the first in order to establish the second" (Hebrews 10:9).
The reason people deny God's command to be baptized is because they cannot see an action on their part having anything to do with their salvation. Yet, why did Jesus say this woman's faith saved her? "Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little" (Luke 7:44-47). It was the woman's actions -- her works -- which demonstrated the depth of her faith. "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26).
Therefore, I wonder were are the obedient actions which demonstrates this person's faith? All I see is someone who looks at God's teachings and denies them because they aren't what they expected. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
"Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith" (Romans 16:25-26).
Thank you for your response. I believe that this will help me better address the person's questions and concerns that were asked of me. I love the Word, but unfortunately not everyone does, and it is hard sometimes to respond to arguments that seem logical but you know to be false.