In John 3 Jesus instructs Nicodemus that we need to be born from Water and the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. Many evangelical Protestants promote accepting Jesus in your heart as your Lord and Saviour in order to be saved. This “personal salvation” formula is nowhere to be found in Scripture.
I do acknowledge that many people have had a radical change in their lives and done much good after professing the personal salvation formula. But what does this mean in terms of their salvation if they had not been baptised? Some Protestants who have professed the formula are and some are not baptised. I am sure God is pleased with their zeal for him, the work they do, etc.
However, in the long run can someone who has been “saved” by the formula end up in heaven the same as someone who was baptised? Now sure, it is not my place to judge but surely the words of Jesus to Nicodemus about the importance of baptism in the scheme of salvation is not to be taken lightly.
On the other hand, just being baptised does not mean automatic entry in heaven. There has to be faith which is borne out in works of charity and I can appreciate how having a personal relationship with Jesus here is meaningful.
Please no knee-jerk responses/comments. I’m looking forward to insights from others regarding this.
Blessings and regards.