Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation?

Written by Josh Romo

Josh began preaching at the Fordland congregation in 2016. He graduated from the Memphis School of Preaching in 2006. Josh has worked with the Lord’s Church in Alabama, Texas, and Missouri.

November 27, 2022

In the religious world at large, many make the argument that baptism is not necessary for one to be saved. The argument is made that baptism is simply done to show obedience after one has already been saved by believing that Jesus lived, died, and rose from the grave. There are a handful of scriptures that are used to make this argument, one of which is John 3:16.

Examine All The Scriptures

However, let’s be reminded to examine all scriptures within their context. Rather than spend all of our space on why John 3:16 cannot be used to support a faith-only doctrine, let’s use our space to examine the scriptures that command baptism and allow the Bible to speak for itself (John 3, by the way, is all about baptism as Jesus speaks to Nicodemus).

Jesus Commands Baptism

Jesus Himself commands baptism; “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19); “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16); “”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).

Peter Commands Baptism

Peter, when asked by the crowd on Pentecost, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?,” responded, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37-38). Acts 8 records that the men and women of Samaria were baptized (Acts 8:12-13) and that the Ethiopian Eunuch was as well (Acts 8:38-39). Notice when the Ethiopian began to rejoice. Acts 9 records the conversion of Saul…when was Saul saved? Hint: it wasn’t on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:18, Acts 22:16). We see Saul preaching Christ after his baptism and not before. Each conversion we read throughout Acts includes baptism; Cornelius and his household (Acts 10), the Philippian Jailer and his household (Acts 16), Lydia and her household (Acts 16), Crispus and many at Corinth (Acts 18).

Paul Commands Baptism

Paul would preach baptism throughout his ministry. He mentions baptism in 1 Corinthians 1. He writes about baptism in Romans 6. He writes that there is but one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). He tells the Colossians that we are buried with Christ in baptism (Colossians 2:12). Paul shows the Corinthians that baptism is the way that one enters the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). He writes to the Galatians that as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27).

Baptism Saves

Finally, Peter writes, point blank, “The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). The ESV renders it this way: “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience.” In the NKJV, “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.” The ASV says, “Which also after a true likeness doth now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” In each case, we see baptism saves. Must one believe? Answer: what do the scriptures say? Must one confess? Answer: What do the scriptures say? Must one be baptized? Answer: What do the scriptures say? Is baptism necessary for salvation? Answer: What do the scriptures say?

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