He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned – Mark 16:16
Jesus describes two groups of people, and he gives each assurance of the end they can expect for their current course of life.
Jesus has commissioned his disciples to go into all the world, preaching the gospel. Those who believe the good news of Jesus Christ and publicly profess their faith are given assurance of their salvation.
This was not a new revelation, because Jesus had been affirming the same truth throughout his ministry. He had already declared “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15), and “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (3:36), and “he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life” (5:24).
Likewise, Jesus had emphasized the seriousness of persistently rejecting his message, saying, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18), also “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (3:36), and “if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (8:24).
However, the astute observer may notice that there is another group whom Jesus seems to leave unaddressed in Mark 16:16 — those who believe but are not baptized. What of the “secret” believer, who joyfully receives the gospel but never publicly follows Christ?
It seems Jesus purposefully leaves them wondering what their end will be, and perhaps that is the way we should leave them as well.
What about you? Does Jesus’ description of those who will be saved describe you?