Is Baptism Really Necessary?
It seems that sooner or later every idea in the Bible is challenged in one way or another. One hundred years ago no one would even think of trying to excuse the sin of homosexuality because the teaching on it in the Bible seemed so clear. Today, entire denominations accept this practice without hesitation, even ordaining homosexual ministers.
In the same way there was a time when the teaching on the necessity of baptism in God's plan of salvation was an unquestioned Bible Doctrine. Today not only are various denominations dismissing the importance of baptism, but even preachers and teachers in the church of Christ are wondering about its role. So I'd like to answer those who ask the following type of questions:
"Is it necessary to be baptized in order to be saved?"
"Is baptism really necessary for me to be a Christian?"
Please note carefully the answer so you can be ready when someone asks you this question. First of all I want you to think carefully to the tone of this question and see if it reminds you of someone.
- "Is baptism really necessary to be saved?"
- "Indeed has God said, "You shall not eat form any tree in the garden?" (Genesis 3:1)
Notice that both questions sound sincere but at the heart of them is exactly the same thing – an invitation to doubt, question or second guess what God has clearly said.
Now if you're asked this question about baptism I want you to note and remember the following: In Mark 16:16 Jesus says,
"…those who believe and are baptized will be saved."
In Acts 2:38 Peter says,
"…repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
In Acts 22:16, in describing his own conversion Paul says that he was told to
"…be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord."
Here's what I want you to notice about these passages.
First, in each passage Jesus, then Peter, and then Paul talk about salvation in various ways – being saved, being forgiven, having the Holy Spirit, washing sin away. These are all different ways of saying the same thing, Being Saved.
Secondly, in each passage all three mention different things that are associated with being saved. For example, Jesus says believe, Peter says repent, Paul says confess Christ. Everyone understands that without faith or repentance or the willingness to confess Christ, salvation is not possible.
Finally, have you noticed that each person specifically mentions baptism in connection with salvation?
- Jesus – Believe + Baptism = Saved
- Peter – Repent + Baptism = Forgiveness & Holy Spirit
- Paul – Confess Christ + Baptism = Sins Washed Away
My question back to people who ask this question is this,
"Just how much proof do you need to convince you that baptism is necessary for salvation? Isn't the command of Jesus and the teaching of Peter and Paul enough?"
The Bible teaches that if you believe and confess your faith in Christ; if you repent of your sins and if you are baptized, you will be saved. If you don't do these things you'll be lost.
Let's not get tripped up by the oldest scheme recorded in the Bible, let's not second guess God; if someone asks you this question don't hesitate to give them the answer that Jesus, Peter and Paul gave when they were asked this question.
In the Bible, baptism is always associated with salvation – it is the Biblical method of expressing our faith in Jesus Christ.