In scripture we are told to be baptized (Mark 16:16), and to baptize (Matthew 28:19), but is baptism required for salvation?
John the Baptist first draws our attention to baptism in the New Testament; John was baptizing the people in the Jordon River before Jesus started His ministry on earth. The baptism that John performed had nothing to do with salvation. John baptized for repentance as a prelude to the coming of Christ.
Acts 19:4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”
John had no illusions about what he was doing. John was paving the way for Jesus to come and present the means and method by which mankind could receive salvation. John baptized those who were repentant and wished to recommit themselves to living according to God’s commandments.
Luke 3:16 John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The Messiah was coming to bring salvation to all that were willing to accept it, but as we see during Jesus’ ministry He never baptizes anyone with water. Jesus’ baptisms were the pouring all of forgiveness, love, and the Holy Spirit. Some denominations believe that you are not saved until you are baptized, but nowhere in scripture can it be seen that baptism is required for salvation; in fact there are examples which indicate it is not required.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Every encounter Jesus had, not once did He tell someone to go and be baptized, but instead He simply said their sins were forgiven. Jesus accepted their display of faith as sufficient for their salvation. The thief on the cross accepted Jesus Christ and Jesus confirmed the thief’s salvation without baptism.
Do you believe that people can accept Jesus Christ on their death bed and be saved? If baptism was a requirement, death bed salvation would not be possible.
We know that no deeds or act of man can achieve salvation for anyone. Isn’t baptism an act of man? That in itself would seem to me to refute the claim that baptize is a requirement for salvation.
So why do we get baptized?
Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Baptism is a symbolic gesture that brings us into the family of God here on earth, to unite us with other saints. We are instructed to do so as an outward display of our inner faith. Much like the Old Testament Jews were circumcised to show their faith in God. The baptism symbolizes us being dead in our sin; putting to death our earthly man through God’s grace of salvation so that we too could be resurrected from the water the new creation now alive in Christ. We do this as our pronouncement that we will follow Jesus.
We will not get into the discussion of immersion verses sprinkling, but every case found in the bible, baptism is done by immersion. I truly believe the method of baptism is unimportant, but that the heart of the one being baptized and the demonstration of the act itself are the important factors.
Many things have been attached to the act of baptism, most of which is manmade doctrine. Study the scriptures and find your comfort with the various doctrines.
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