Baptism – Is it necessary for salvation?
There are many who think that in order to be saved, one must be baptized. The Bible is Truth and is God’s word, so anytime there are any questions, we must look to God’s word to see what the Truth is.
God’s word is clear that Baptism does not cause any change in a person. It is not necessary for salvation and does not effect a person’s relationship with God. A Christian should want to get baptized, since it’s a command in the Bible. But a Christian should have no fear of being kept out of Heaven just because they aren’t baptized.
Baptism is a symbol of our new life in Christ. We are buried with Him in Baptism, and raised with Him in our new life as a born again believer. The normal mode of Baptism is to immerse a person by leaning them backwards to a position similar to laying down. Then the person is lifted up again out of the water. This is representative of two things. Our old sinful life dying, and then rising up with a new life as a Christian. And our physical death and burial, then our rising again at the resurrection.
Baptism is not salvation! It is a command from Jesus Christ after a person has been saved. Notice Matthew 28:19 does not say to go and get people saved. It doesn’t say to go and preach the Gospel. It says to go and teach all nations, baptizing them. You don’t teach someone until they are saved. Once they are saved, then you teach them the commands of Jesus Christ and what the Bible says about living as a Christian, and once they are saved then you baptize them. As baptism is mentioned along with teaching, it is normal deduction to see that baptism and teaching both come after a person is saved.
Many use Mark 16:16 to show that baptism is necessary. The verse states, “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Now notice what the verse does not say: “he that believeth not, and is not baptized, shall be damned.” To be damned, all a person has to do is not believe. It doesn’t mention not being baptized. But people assume that if a person isn’t baptized, they aren’t saved. It doesn’t say that. That is adding to God’s word, and is an interpretation without evidence.
The Bible is clear. Baptism comes after salvation. In Acts 8:37, the eunuch asked what prevents him from being baptized. Philip said, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Here is it clear that to be baptized, one has to believe first. (this verse is taken out of all new Bibles) In Acts 10:47, the men with Peter, after being astonished that Gentiles could be saved, and after seeing them receive the Holy Ghost, said they should be baptized.
God baptizes with the Holy Ghost, not with water. What John’s baptism did, “for the remission of sins”, the Holy Ghost does now. (Acts 11:16) Acts is a transitional book that went from Old Testament Jew (Acts 1:6) to New Testament Gentile (Acts 28:28). Acts started with Peter and ended with Paul (see Galatians 2:7). In Acts 2:38, Peter preached baptism in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins. He was preaching to Jews only! (Acts 2:5,14,36; see also John 4:22 & Matthew 15:24) But after God showed him that Gentiles could be saved, Peter realized that remission of sins is through believing on the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:43). Notice it was after the Gentiles believed and received the Holy Ghost that Peter commanded them to be baptized (Acts 10:47).
In 1 Corinthians 1:14 & 17, Paul thanks God that he baptized no one but Crispus and Gaius. Now does that sound like baptism is necessary? If it was, why did Paul thank God for not baptizing? And in verse 17, he says that Christ sent him, not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. If baptism was necessary for salvation, why didn’t he include baptism with preaching the Gospel? Why didn’t he say that Christ sent him to preach the Gospel and to baptize?
Ephesians 4:5 says there is one baptism, and it isn’t water! A person better be sure they are correct with what they preach, because if they are preaching that baptism is necessary for salvation, they are preaching another Gospel, and according to Galatians 1:8, they are accursed!