Is Baptism Required For Salvation?

“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’.” – John 3:5

Is Baptism Essential for Salvation?

Hey, all! Thank you for your continued show of support in reading. I appreciate you!

One of the most important questions within Christendom today is: Is baptism required for salvation? Many contend that faith alone saves us and baptism is a mere symbol as an outward sign of an inward change. But what does the Bible teach? We must respect what the Bible teaches about baptism. I invite you to study this issue with me.

First, in Mark 16:16, Jesus told His disciples, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” In this verse we examine that belief and baptism come before salvation.

When Nicodemus went to Jesus by night, the Lord told him, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God'” (John 3:5). Water, here, signifies baptism, and the kingdom of God is His church (Matthew 16:18-19). You can’t enter the kingdom of God without water baptism.

At the beginning of the church, when the Jews were convicted of the guilt of their sin at the preaching of Peter, they asked what they must do. Peter replied, “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.” Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. There is no forgiveness without it.

After His encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul was told to “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Being baptized washes away our sins. That’s a work of God. He connects the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to our baptism (Romans 6:3-6). Notice what Titus 3:5 declares about salvation: “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus saved us through the washing of regeneration – baptism – and the renewing of the Spirit.

Lastly, 1 Peter 3:21 makes it very clear for us. “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Baptism saves us. It’s not of our doing, but it’s God working in us when we are obedient to Him.

So you see then that baptism is required in order for a person to be saved. Belief only is not enough. We have discussed before the subject of whether one is saved by faith alone. James chapter 2, verse 24 makes the point clear: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” A person is not made right with God by faith only. Some argue the point here of Ephesians 2:9 – that we are saved not of works lest any man should boast. However, consider that baptism is not a work of man. It is a work of God, required by Him of us to be obedient to His plan of redemption.

If you have not obeyed Christ in baptism, there’s no other way you can enter into His kingdom. You can be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. Just like God requires our obedience in baptism, He requires us to have faith in the Son of God (Mark 16:16); He requires us to repent of our sins (Acts 2:38). He requires us to confess Him before others (Romans 10:9), and He requires that we live a faithful life in service to Him (Revelation 2:10).

For more study on baptism and some of the common misconceptions about it, see Wayne Jackson’s article, 8 Mistaken Ideas About Baptism. May God bless you and keep you. May He cause His face to shine upon you.

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” – Romans 6:3

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4 comments

  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever BELIEVES in him, will have eternal life. John 3:16. Baptism is important outward declaration of your faith, but not required for salvation.

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  • How do you reconcile Mark 16:16 with that Scripture? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Jesus said you must be born of water and Spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven (John 3:5). We have to take all the verses collectively together to get the full picture. The Bible doesn’t contradict itself. In Romans 10:9, the Word says to confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved. That verse doesn’t say to just believe. It also says we need to confess the Lord Jesus. So, we can’t just take one verse out of all the Scripture and leave the others out. Jesus said whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. Nowhere does Scripture say that baptism is an outward sign of our faith. But it does say that baptism saves us (1 Peter 3:21). Belief is not enough. Even the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19).

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  • Appreciate your heart and response. Here is my last two cents on this.

    Do You Need to be Baptized to be Saved?

    According to God’s Word, Baptism is not a requirement of salvation. Let’s examine what the Scriptures teach on this issue:
    It is quite clear from such passages as Acts 15 and Romans 4 that no external act is necessary for salvation. Salvation is by divine grace through faith alone (Romans 3:22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9, etc.). If water baptism were necessary for salvation, we would expect to find it stressed whenever the saving gospel of Jesus is presented in Scripture Paul never made water baptism any part of his gospel presentations. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul gives a concise summary of the gospel message he preached. There is no mention of baptism. In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul states that “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” thus clearly differentiating the gospel from baptism.
    If baptism were part of the gospel itself, necessary for salvation, what good would it have done Paul to preach the gospel, but not baptize? No one would have been saved. The penitent woman (Luke 7:37-50), the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2), the publican (Luke 18:13-14), and the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) all experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism. For that matter, we have no record of the apostles’ being baptized, yet Jesus pronounced them clean of their sins (John 15:3—note that the Word of God, not baptism, is what cleansed them).
    There are two Bible verses that may cause confusion in regards to how baptism and salvation are mentioned together. Acts 2:38 says “repent and be baptized”… meaning that baptism is not required but a physical next step to take after the spiritual step. Mark 16:6 “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”…again, baptism is stated as a natural next step after the spiritual belief. It is the belief that grants salvation and the failure to believe that causes condemnation.
    Water baptism is certainly important, however, the New Testament does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.

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  • Thank you for your thoughtful comments and the discussion.

    We have to be careful not to take scripture out of context. We are not justified by faith only. The word “only” is not in those verses, and the only place it appears in that context is in James 2:24: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” Baptism is a work of God, not a work of man. I invite you to read: Saved by Faith Only?
    https://christleadstheway.com/2019/09/15/saved-by-faith-only/

    Paul said in a few verses before 1 Corinthians 1:17 (v. 14) that he had baptized Crispus and Gaius. The reason that he said he was glad he hadn’t baptized any others was so that they wouldn’t be boasting about who baptized them, not because baptism wasn’t necessary.

    The people that you mentioned who were saved apart from baptism were not under the will and testament of Christ. Christ had not died yet so His will and testament was not in effect. Jesus had power to forgive sins while on earth (Mark 2:10). Those people were under the old covenant. See, What about the Thief on the Cross? https://christleadstheway.com/2019/06/14/what-about-the-thief-on-the-cross/

    All throughout the book of Acts we see those who believed being baptized (Acts 16:14-15, 31-33; 8:36-38; 9:18). Even Paul was baptized. Belief simply is not enough.

    I wish that we could agree, but it seems that we will not. Baptism is definitely required for salvation. 1 Peter 3:21 says “baptism does also now save us.” Jesus commanded in the Great Commission that His disciples go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). We can’t ignore what Jesus said. He was clear, He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). Belief + Baptism = Salvation.

    For further reading, I invite you to read Wayne Jackson’s article on the 8 Mistaken Ideas About Baptism. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1598-8-mistaken-ideas-about-baptism

    May God bless you is my prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

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