Q. I am perplexed by Mark 16:15-18, “These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Is Jesus saying that in order to have eternal life, we must exhibit the signs he has outlined? While I believe and have been baptized, I do not speak in tongues and have not cast out demons. In all fairness, I have not tested the snake theory or tried to drink any deadly thing, but I am not sure that would be wise.
Jesus is not saying that in order to have eternal life, we must exhibit the signs he is describing. He says quite clearly just before outlining these signs, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved.” (And baptism itself is an expression of saving belief, not a further requirement for salvation.) Then he adds, about those who have shown that they believe this way, that these signs will accompany them. But the signs accompany the whole community of believers, so it is not the case that each individual believer needs to have every sign in order to be sure that they are saved. So, put that snake back in its cage, put down that deadly drink, and rest assured in your salvation!