Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

That’s a question people have been debating for centuries. Those on each side of the argument are adamant their point of view is correct, and they each have the scripture to back it up.

On the side of baptism being a requirement:

Matthew 3:13-15: “Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. ‘I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,’ he said, ‘so why are you coming to me?’

“But Jesus said, ‘It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.’ So John agreed to baptize him.”

Mark 16: 16: “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

Acts 2:38: “Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 13:24: “Before [Jesus] came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized.”

Colossians 2:12: “For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.”

On the side of baptism being unnecessary:

Mark 1:4; “This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.”

Aside: This could be used to prove both sides of the argument, because notice the word should instead of must. Also, it states that baptism shows they had repented, not that baptism was required for forgiveness.

Mark 16: 16: “Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

Aside: You may wonder why I use this scripture for both. Simple. The last sentence does not say anyone who refuses to believe and be baptized will be condemned.

Luke 3:16: “John answered their questions by saying, ‘I baptize you with [Or in] water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. [Or in the Holy Spirit and in fire].’”

Acts 8:14-17: “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

Aside: Another example that can be used to prove both sides of the argument. However, Peter didn’t baptize the believers with water, but laid hands on them instead.

So which is it? Must I be baptized with water in order to receive salvation?

Since there are scriptural references going both ways, I turn to what I know about the nature of God.

There are many churches such as the Salvation Army that don’t believe water baptism is a requirement. Does that mean every member of the Salvation Army is doomed to Hell?

What about the countless children who didn’t live long enough to be baptized? Does God send them directly to the fires as well?

Since God is love, I don’t believe so, any more than my parents would permanently turn their backs on me because I refuse to shower.

I also have never been baptized (that I know of), nor do I anticipate ever doing so. Is my soul in jeopardy although I’ve given it and my life to God, and asked forgiveness of my sins through the blood of Jesus Christ? If I am to die without a minister or preacher pouring water over me, is my entire life a waste?

I acknowledge that perhaps I test God by not being baptized, but I also trust in God’s love enough that he won’t hold it against me. As Mark 1:4 said, baptism is an outward expression that we have repented of our sins. It comes after we accept salvation, not before, or even during. I show through my other actions I have accepted Jesus as my savior.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit is what matters.

Why then did we baptize our son when he was a baby? Does that make me a hypocrite, or at least uncertain as to my belief, willing to jeopardize my soul, but not my son’s?

No. As Mark 1:4 said, baptism is an outward expression of what’s already taken place in the heart and soul. My husband and I wish to show our friends and family that we will teach our son about and (hopefully) accept Jesus as his savior for himself someday.

In the end, like accepting Jesus for yourself, the same holds true for baptism. If you find it necessary, by all means get baptized. If you don’t think it’s necessary, that’s okay, too–as long as your faith is sincere in both cases.

8 thoughts on “Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

  1. Though I was baptized as a baby, shortly after my birth, my heart and soul tells me that you are right on this one, Andra… particularly as it applies to babies, young children, and the mentally handicapped. God’s judgment on whether a Christian has repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven, will be perfect. Thus, I still think that adults, who have not previously been baptized but sincerely claim that they have turned their lives over to God by accepting Jesus as their savior, should be baptized as a means of insuring that they have done everything that needs to be done to be saved by God and to properly glorify God for the grace he has shown us. Baptism is such a small act of publicly acknowledging a Christian’s belief in God/Jesus, that it is a good way of letting the world know you are now a disciple of God. But, I also believe that publicly acknowledging your belief in God/Jesus as our savior and being baptized will not necessarily result in that person being saved by God. To me, it is just as important that a true Christian, to be saved by God, live a life as a mortal on this earth in line with God’s Word. There are far too many people on this earth who publicly claim to be Christians, but fall so far short of living in accord with God’s Word, that I fear they will not be saved by God upon the end of their mortal lives.

    That brings me to a subject that I would love for you to address in your future blogs, that is if you want to. I would entitle the subject, something like “Christians’ Biblical Obligations to Judge Themselves and Others, and Still Meet God’s Expectations.” Based on my discussions with several regular Church attendees and my regular attendance of Churches’ services, I believe most Churches could do a much better job of addressing this aspect of the Bible. In my opinion, I believe the subject is largely ignored by too many Churches. It is my concern too many Churches have concentrated too much on the verses of the Bible that assures us God loves us so much He can forgive anyone their sins, which I believe is true. However, I also believe, a person must truly repent his or her sins and be sincerely genuine about his or her desire to follow God’s Word for the rest of his or her mortal life, which is a judgment call that will be made by God with 100% accuracy, before a person will be allowed into Heaven upon their deaths. It is also my experience that many regular Church attendees believe it is okay to sin because God will forgive them. That attitude, in my opinion, only leads to more sins, which then naturally leads to more souls being lost to the devil.

    Relying solely on my memory and paraphrasing of verses that I believe to be contained in the Bible about each, I think I know of Bible verses that basically say: (1) very few people will end up in Heaven, much less than most Christians think; (2) God does not know many people who claim to be devote Christians because of such people’s sins; (3) Committing one sin may prevent you from reaching Heaven; (4) a true Christian needs to privately judge the leaders within their Church, including the pastors of the Church, and report any failings of their leaders to the lead pastor of the Church, who must take action against the wayward leader, when at least two witnesses attest to the sinful acts of the wayward leader. This includes making sure the sermons at the Church preach all of God’s Word, not just the parts of the Bible that fill the pews and give a false view of what the Bible says as a whole; (5) a true Christian needs to judge every person they meet to determine whether the person is an evil doer or not, and then not associate with the evil doers… I believe the Bible verse states “run [or] flee” from evil doers. I think what makes a person an evil doer is very difficult to determine, but like they say about pornography, though it will likely take more time, if you associate with any person long enough you will eventually know whether or not that person is an evil doer, just like the saying you will know if a photo is pornographic when you see it. There have been several people in my life whom I had thought initially to be a devote Christian, but ultimately ended up to be evil doers in my judgment based on how they treated me and others; and (6) what I find to be most difficult to do… as a Christian we need to forgive, love, and teach everyone the benefit of being one of God’s disciples, through our words and actions, including not only all the former or existing wayward leaders of our existing or past Churches and all the evil doers who we experience in our lifetime, in addition to all others who outwardly knowingly commit sins or have a belief that their sinful acts are not sins, like the LGBT community, the KKK, the Skin Heads, organized criminal organizations, the pro-abortion groups, etc.

    I know that these parts of the Bible are rarely mentioned in many Churches and go against the belief a devote Christian should not judge others, It appears to me that if such Bible verses do exists, which I believe to be the case, God does ask us to judge others to live a life as a devote Christian. If you like, I would be willing to help you with finding the applicable Bible verses on each of the verses I allege above to exist. I would not be offended by any conclusions on your part or the part of any one or more of your readers that disagree with my conclusions, as I believe views contrary to mine provide me with an opportunity to reflect on my beliefs and grow as a child of God.

    Finally, since I have not been baptized since shortly after my birth, I am also willing to be baptized with you or any one of the readers of your blog, if any one would like me to do so. It is time for me to publicly acknowledge my rebirth as a child of God and to glorify God for the grace He has granted me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will be happy to dig into that subject. Thanks for the idea! I also am touched and humbled by your invitation to be baptized with you. I will give it serious thought!

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      1. Andra, I am humbled by your comments about me. You are the one who writes about subjects that ignite my faith and thoughts. I appreciate the time and effort you commit to this blog and your faith!

        Liked by 1 person

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