Have you been baptized for the forgiveness of your sins?
You can be saved, and you can know it. We’ve seen what Jesus has said we must do in order to be saved from damnation to a heavenly home with Him. Christ said that we must believe that He is Lord, confess His lordship to others, and repent of our sins. Jesus also said that we must be baptized in order to be saved. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).
Jesus said that. He also taught that His followers are to “go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). That scripture passage points out that we make disciples by baptizing people and by teaching them to do all that God has commanded (Matthew 28:20). Jesus didn’t say to teach them to do some things He’d commanded, but all things.
And that’s exactly what His first disciples did. In Acts 2:38, Peter proclaimed to thousands of people on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Paul preached it when he said that we are baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3). Even the Apostle Paul (once called Saul) was baptized (Acts 9:10-16). Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, and they both went down into the water (Acts 8:26-39).
Baptism is a submersion. It is not a sprinkling. Baptism is a command. It is not an option. The Bible explicitly states, “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). That’s pretty clear that baptism saves us. It’s part of the all that Christ has commanded that we do to be saved.
We’ve seen that Christ commanded that we believe in Him (John 3:16); that we confess Him before others (Matthew 10:32); that we repent (Luke 13:3), and; that we be baptized so that we can be saved (Mark 16:16).
Anyone who puts a not in front of anything that Jesus said is a false teacher – whether they are trying to be or not. If Christ said it (and He did), then that’s what we need to do. There’s usually a lot of false teaching about baptism. Some people say you do not need to be baptized to be saved. That is the direct opposite of and is contrary to what Jesus said in Mark 16:16: “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Some teach that baptism is only an outward expression of an inward faith and that it’s not necessary for salvation. For those who falsely teach that to you, ask them to show you where to find that in the Bible. They won’t be able to show you because it’s not there; it’s not a biblical teaching.
If you believe the Bible is true and from God, then you will want to do what it says over what any human may teach. It doesn’t matter how long some man or woman has been studying the Bible, how well-known they are, or how godly they are. It’s possible to be an eloquent and a powerful teacher of the Bible but still not know, understand, and teach the full truth (Acts 18:24-28). If anyone teaches something that is not what I read in my Bible, then I’m not following it. I’m going to follow and believe what Christ says. I hope that you will, too.
And, the baptism that Jesus is talking about is not a baptism of infants or small children who have no idea why they are being baptized. Nowhere in the Bible do we see examples of infant baptism or of small children. If you were baptized as a child because your parents made you or because you wanted to usher, to sing in the choir, or to “join church,” then that wasn’t a baptism of knowledge or from the heart. It requires a rebaptism with the correct understanding for the correct reason (Acts 19:1-7).
I don’t know why people fight against Jesus saying that you must be baptized in order to be saved. There’s no reason to try to rationalize it away or to explain around what Jesus said. He said to believe Him, so let’s believe Him. He said to confess Him, so let’s confess Him. He said to repent, so let’s repent. He said to be baptized, so let’s be baptized.
Why risk not doing what He said and then not be saved? We can’t take anything away from what God said, and we can’t add anything to it (Deuteronomy 12:32, Revelation 22:18-19). Don’t let your share of the tree of life and the holy city be taken away by taking away from what God has said. Have you been baptized? Was it to receive forgiveness of sins, if you were? If not, I urge you to do what God has commanded about baptism, for the reasons He’s commanded. If you do what Christ has commanded, you can be saved, and you can know it.