Is baptism necessary for salvation? Does a person need water baptism in order to be born again or saved?
Denominations differ on this issue but what does the Bible teach regarding the topic of baptism?
The answer to these questions is simple. Baptism is NOT necessary for salvation because of the following reasons:
What is Water Baptism?
Water baptism & Holy Communion are 2 ceremonials that were ordained by Jesus Christ. Water baptism is a symbolic ceremony that illustrates the Christian believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Baptism is an outward sign to the world that a person has genuinely been saved or received Jesus Christ as his/her personal Saviour.
An example would be when a married person wears a ring. The ring on his/her finger symbolically illustrates to the world that the person is married. However, even with or without a ring that particular person would still be married.
Water baptism does not save a person. We do not receive salvation through the water in a baptism ceremony.
The water in water baptism does not remove sins. Water baptism does not give us salvation. Our sins are removed by the blood of Jesus. Redemption is through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:7 says “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.
Salvation has become possible by grace because of the blood of Jesus Christ that He shed for mankind on the cross.
The action of being immersed in the water illustrates dying and being buried with Christ. Then the action of coming out of the water symbolizes Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).
Water baptism is for believers. Before a person is baptized, first that person must receive salvation. In other words, a person must become a born again child of God first through faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12).
What is Salvation?
Romans 10:9-10 says “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.
From Romans 10:9-10 we learn that salvation is through faith or trusting Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
In the Christian context, salvation is being saved or delivered from the righteous judgment of God upon sinners. All people are sinners (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). However, God has made a way of escape or provided salvation through Jesus Christ His begotten Son so that whoever believes in Christ and accepts Christ as his/her Lord and Saviour shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
We therefore receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12). We are not saved by our personal effort or personal behavior. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Therefore salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ alone (John 14:6).
If salvation was through our personal righteousness or works then it would put the death of Christ in vain (Galatians 2:21).
Presuming that water baptism is necessary for salvation would be an act of works rather than grace (Romans 11:6).
If baptism were necessary for salvation then the thief who was on the cross with Jesus would not have entered paradise (Luke 23:39-43).
Why Get Baptized If Baptism Is Not Necessary For Salvation?
Getting baptized is a symbolic ceremony of what has already occurred in the heart and life of one who has trusted Christ as Lord and Saviour. Baptism is done as an act of obedience because Jesus Christ ordained it.
It is a public testimony to the world that you have already put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord & Saviour.
This is why baptism of infants in certain denominations is not biblical. A child first needs to consciously accept Jesus Christ as Saviour before he/she can be baptized.
Baptism identifies an inward conversion to Christianity to the outside world. Repentance and conversion to Christianity comes first – then comes the symbolic action of baptism.
It’s important to note that even if a person who has received Jesus Christ as Saviour were to die before being baptized – that person would still go to Heaven because salvation is through Christ and not through water baptism.
The doctrine that water baptism is necessary for salvation is called “baptismal regeneration”. This is a false doctrine.
There are more than 50 Bible verses that refer to salvation as being through faith in Jesus Christ. God has saved us by His grace and therefore our salvation is not by our own personal effort or religious rites (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The belief that baptism saves is adding personal effort for salvation and it makes the death & resurrection of Christ to be insufficient in the mind of those who believe in baptismal regeneration.
While baptism is an important act of obedience, the scriptures reject that it is necessary for salvation. Baptismal regeneration is an attack on the sufficiency of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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