When we talk about salvation, one of the questions that comes up a lot is about the thief on the cross. He wasn’t baptized. Since he wasn’t baptized, is baptism really necessary?
Some of the key aspects of “rightly dividing” (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word of God involves understanding when something happened or was taught and it’s relationship to the whole of the subject as well as taking all of what the Bible says about any given topic.
Let me illustrate this in a silly way.
“All bald men are going to heaven!” Bold statement for sure. I love Leviticus 13:40. It states; “If a man loses the hair of his head, he is bald, he is clean.”
Being clean, or cleansed is a justification that God gives to the sinner. Freed from sin, cleansed from unrighteousness. Understanding that we can therefore say, if a man is bald, he is saved.
Now there are several problems with this, besides the comedy and stupidity factor. It was taken out of context; the immediate context of Leviticus 13 and the book of Leviticus. These are the laws of God and understanding of the ways of God and chapter 13 is specifically about leprosy and not spiritual cleansing.
The correct understanding of Leviticus 13:40 is, just because some guy is bald, does not necessarily mean he has leprosy. It just means he lost his hair.
Applying scripture willy-nilly, out of context, with various biases will lead to warped understandings and the development of false doctrines. So what about the thief on the cross?