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Henrik wrote:

Hi, guys —

Ave Maria!

  • Does the thief on the Cross at Calvary show us that Baptism is not necessary in order to enter into paradise?


  { Does the thief on the Cross at Calvary show us that Baptism is not really necessary? }

Mary Ann replied:

Henrik —

I believe the thief on the Cross at Calvary is a good example of Baptism of desire, and also shows us that it is the Lord who saves; He is not bound to the sacraments.

Mary Ann

John replied:

Hi, Henrik —

Thank you for your question.

Notice who tells the thief, he will be in Paradise. It is Jesus, right? Well, Jesus told His Church to preach the Gospel and baptize others. We also know from other places in Scripture that through the waters of Baptism we die with Christ and will be raised with Him if we persevere. In other words, we are born again. So the Church knows that by administering Baptism, we are assured that a person receives the Holy Spirit and sanctifying grace. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean Jesus is limited to Baptism, just because we are.

The thief on the Cross is an exception and not the rule. We don't make the exception, the rule. We assume that, if a person has expressed a desire for baptism and for some reason the person dies before being baptized, that person was baptized by desire. There is also the hope that we hold that God wants all men to be saved, therefore those who die in His friendship, not knowing the Gospel or the necessity of Baptism, can also be saved by God in ways known only to Him.

What doesn't ever change, is that every man who is saved, is saved because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

We are saved by Christ alone and Grace alone — through faith apart from "works of the Law",
not by faith alone as Luther taught. We rely on the grace, mercy, and the Love of the Lord in all instances when it comes to salvation.


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