He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He that believeth not shall be damned.—Better, shall be condemned. The Greek word does not necessarily imply the idea of irreversible endless condemnation which has come to be attached to the English one.
Is baptized - Is initiated into the church by the application of water, as significant that he is a sinner, and needs the purifying influences of the Holy Spirit. It is worthy of remark that Jesus has made "baptism" of so much importance. He did not say, indeed, that a man could not be saved without baptism, but he has strongly implied that where this is neglected "knowing it to be a command of the Saviour," it endangers the salvation of the soul. Faith and baptism are the beginnings of a Christian life: the one the beginning of piety in the soul, the other of its manifestation before men or of a profession, of religion. Every man endangers his eternal interest by being ashamed of Christ before men. See Mark 8:38.
Shall be damned - That is, condemned by God and cast off from his presence, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9. It implies that they will be adjudged to be guilty by God in the day of judgment Romans 2:12, Romans 2:16; Matthew 25:41; that they will deserve to die forever Romans 2:6, Romans 2:8, and that they will be cast out into a place of woe to all eternity, Matthew 25:46. It may be asked how it can be just in God to condemn men forever for not believing the gospel? I:answer:
1. God has a right to appoint his own terms of mercy.
2. Man has no claim on him for heaven.
3. The sinner rejects the terms of salvation, knowingly, deliberately, and perseveringly.
4. He has a special disregard and contempt for the gospel.
5. His unbelief is produced by the love of sin.
6. He shows by this that he has no love for God, and his law, and for eternity.
7. He slights the objects dearest to God and most like him; and,
8. He must be miserable.
A creature who has no confidence in God; who does not believe that he is true or worthy of his regard, and who never seeks his favor, must be wretched. He rejects God, and he must go into eternity without a Father and without a God. He has no source of comfort in himself, and must die for ever. There is no being in eternity but God that can make man happy, and without his favor the sinner must be wretched.
shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned—These awful issues of the reception or rejection of the Gospel, though often recorded in other connections, are given in this connection only by Mark.See Poole on "Mark 16:15"
and is baptized; faith must precede baptism, as these words of Christ, and Scripture examples show; and such as have it, ought to make a profession of it, and be baptized; and in which way it is that faith discovers itself, and works by love to Christ; namely, in observing his commands, and this among the rest:
shall be saved, such receive the remission of their sins a justifying righteousness, the privilege of adoption, a right and meetness for heaven now, and shall be saved in Christ, with an everlasting salvation; not that either faith or baptism, are the procuring causes of salvation: not faith, for Christ is the author of salvation; and faith is the grace that looks to him for it, receives the assurance of it now, and that will be the end of it hereafter: faith and eternal life are so connected together, that he that has the one, shall have the other; and it is descriptive of the person that shall enjoy it: and baptism, though it is said to save by the resurrection of Christ, as it is a means of leading faith to Christ's resurrection for justification, yet has no casual influence upon salvation; it is not essential to it; the thief on the cross, went to heaven without it, and Simon Magus to hell with it; but it is the duty of every one that believes, and he that truly believes, ought to be baptized, and prove the truth of his faith, by his obedience to Christ, and such shall be saved:
but he that believeth not shall be damned; such are here chiefly designed, who, are favoured with the Gospel revelation; but either deny it, reject and despise it, or neglect it, and are disobedient to it; whose guilt is the greater, and whose punishment and damnation will be the more intolerable; even more so, than that of Sodom and Gomorrha, Tyre and Sidon, or any of the Gentiles that perish without the law, and the knowledge of the Gospel; and also such are meant, who are finally unbelievers, who live and die in a state of impenitence and unbelief; otherwise, one that believes not today, may believe tomorrow, and be saved.He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 16:16. He who shall have become believing (see on Romans 13:11), and have been baptized, shall attain the Messianic salvation (on the establishment of the kingdom). The necessity of baptism—of baptism, namely, regarded as a necessary divinely ordained consequent of the having become believing, without, however (as Calvin has observed), being regarded as dimidia salutis causa—is here (comp. John 3:5) expressed for all new converts, but not for the children of Christians (see on 1 Corinthians 7:14).
ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας] That in the case of such baptism had not occurred, is obvious of itself; refusal of faith necessarily excluded baptism, since such persons despised the salvation offered in the preaching of faith. In the case of a baptism without faith, therefore, the necessary subjective causa salutis would be wanting.Mark 16:16 is a poor equivalent for Mt.’s reference to baptism, insisting as it does, in an ecclesiastical spirit, on the necessity of baptism rather than on its significance as an expression of the Christian faith in God the Father, Son, and Spirit. Jesus may not have spoken as Mt. reports, but the words put into His mouth by the first evangelist are far more worthy of the Lord than those here ascribed to Him.16. He that believeth and is baptized] Not faith only, but baptism also is required by the Lord. Compare the words of Philip the deacon to the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:37.
he that believeth not] He addeth not and is baptized here. This would have been superfluous. He who refuses to believe will refuse to be baptized.
shall be damned] See note above, ch. Mark 12:40. He who wilfully rejects the Gospel message, when duly offered him, shall have no share in its saving mercies, but shall be left to the condemnation due to him for his sins.Mark 16:16. Πιστεύσας, he that believeth) the Gospel. The close of this Gospel corresponds to its opening: ch. Mark 1:15.—καὶ βαπτισθεὶς, and that is baptized) Whosoever once believes, is wont to receive baptism.—σωθήσεται, shall be saved: κατακριθήσεται, shall be condemned) There is a Synecdoche in both verbs: shall have righteousness [the antithetic term to κατακρίμα involved in κατακριθήσεται], and salvation; shall be condemned, and perish [the antithesis of σωθήσεται].—ἀπιστήσας, he who believeth not) Those who did not believe, did not receive baptism. The want of baptism does not condemn, unless it be through unbelief [that baptism is refused]. The penalty of neglecting circumcision is more expressly indicated, Genesis 17:14.
A most unfortunate rendering. The word is a judicial term, and, as Dr. Morison truthfully says, "determines, by itself, nothing at all concerning the nature, degree, or extent of the penalty to be endured." See on the kindred noun, κρῖμα, judgment, rendered by A. V. damnation, 1 Corinthians 11:29. Rev., rightly, condemned.
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