Jesus said to the apostles, “Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:15, 16). Therefore, belief and baptism is commanded in order for one to be saved.
On Pentecost, the hearers of the gospel asked Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter answered, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37, 38).
Paul preached the gospel in Rome the meaning of baptism. He wrote, “Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom 6:3,4)
After mentioning that in Noah’s time eight souls were saved by water, Peter wrote, “The like figure where unto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21).
Many can’t accept baptism for salvation because that would condemn their mother or father.” Perhaps the individual’s parents are deceased and he knows that they never were baptized in order to have forgiveness of sins. Therefore, they are unwilling to obey the Lord in baptism because they feel that their obedience would be a testimony against their own mother and father.
Our actions will not change the destiny of our deceased parents. If our departed parents are rejected in the day of judgment, it will be their fault, not ours. When death overtakes anyone he has either prepared, or failed to prepare, for judgment and eternity. No one’s acceptance of the truth will alter the destiny of anybody whose life on this earth is already completed.
Our actions may help to save living parents. If our mother and father are still living and have not obeyed the gospel, we may be able to help them by our own example. We should think in terms of saving them rather than condemning them.
Each one must give account for his own life. Whether one’s mother and father are saved or condemned, or possibly one is saved and the other is condemned, every person is individually responsible before God. It is absolutely foolish to refuse to be baptized into Christ because one’s parents did not do it. So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).
Refusal to believe and obey the truth will condemn one’s own soul. Instead of saying, “I cannot accept what you preach, because it would condemn my mother and father,” one should realize that if the truth is being preached, the reaction should be, “If I do not accept this, I will condemn myself.”
God must come before our parents, for Jesus said, “He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. . .” (Matt. 10:37). Luke recorded, “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14:26) Some by their attitudes show more reverence for their parents than they show for God. The thoughts of their earthly father carry more weight with them than the thoughts of their heavenly Father. To please the Lord, we must to love Him more than we love our father or mother, our brother or sister, our husband or wife, even our own self. If we can’t love God above everyone, we can’t be a Christian and thus we can’t be saved. And if we love God, we will obey his commandments. (Jn 14:15) Jesus commanded the entire world to believe and be baptized in order to be saved. (Mk 16:16) If we love our parents more than this commandment, we shall be lost!