Is Getting Baptized Part of Salvation?



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  • Is Getting Baptized Part of Salvation?

    Some people claim that it is and some says it's not necessary. The thief on the cross did not get baptized and Jesus said to him ""I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Some people are saying this because Jesus said "The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit". I guess some are saying that born again of "water" means being baptized. I think it's being born of one mother's womb.

  • #2
    What About Being Baptized?

    Water baptism is a symbolic burial: By which the new Christian publicly declares they have died, and are now beginning a new life, in Christ. Baptize is the English form of a Greek word which means to immerse: to place something into something else. In Christian water baptism, the believer is put completely under water, then immediately raised out of the water. Some faiths practice sprinking which is controversial in some minds, however, God is observing the heart, not the method. It's about obedience. Although complete immersion reflects the complete burial, and surfacing from the water is arising to a new life. In sprinkling, the primary message of death and a new life is not portrayed, therefore is not a common practice except for the sick or those unable to immerse.

    Water baptism is a statement of faith: My old life is behind me -- I am a new person, with a new life. Water baptism is a sign of repentance -- repentance means change -- a change so drastic that the old person is "buried." It does not make you acceptable to God. As a work of righteousness, trying to obtain a good standing with God, is of none effect. Water baptism is a way of giving testimony to what has happened inwardly, and a public commitment to turn from the old life.

    Water baptism outwardly demonstrates what has happened inwardly: Water baptism helps you to grasp the reality of the spiritual truth that the old "you" has died. Water baptism is only as important as the participant believes it to be. Water baptism is their confession, and a public commitment. Unless the person really believes they died, there is no need for a burial. It is not something we must do to impress God, but something to impress on our mind what happened to us inwardly. Water baptism is for our benefit, not God's.

    Water baptism is about your death: Water baptism is your public declaration of your death. It is a public confession of faith: I have died to my old life and my old ways. By being baptized in water you are saying that you have died to sin, selfishness, and the world's ways. Water baptism is a public burial of the old life. By asking for burial, you declare that you believe something has died. There is no need for a burial without a death. Burial is not absolutely required, but is recommended as the best course of action. So, generally, those who receive Jesus Christ should normally be baptized in water. In the book of Acts, water baptism always seemed to be done without delay. Although burial can take place at any time, the best time is immediately after death has been confirmed.

    As we are baptized in water, we are in effect saying goodbye to our old life (self), and saying hello to a new creation who is IN Christ Jesus. Because of death you are free from your old master the flesh and Satan; now you have a new Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. A major benefit to the believer is the clean break that water baptism makes with their past. When the devil brings temptations and accusations concerning their old life -- the believer can reply, "That person is dead and buried. I am a new person in Christ." Water baptism is a point of separation, dividing the old from the new. It says the past is dead and gone -- drawing a clear line between the old life and the new, graphically imprinted on the mind of the believer.

    Why was Jesus baptized in water? He was, and is, our pattern. And, in a sense, He was, at that point, dying to His past life. From that point, His first allegiance would no longer be to earthly relatives. ("Who is My mother, or My brothers?" Mark 3:31-35.) Jesus would no longer be a carpenter. He was beginning His public ministry. Jesus was declaring that He was dead to any selfishness and existed solely to do the will of the Father God.

    Because it illustrates the central message of the Gospel, water baptism should be a tool for teaching and evangelism. Water baptism should help people understand the spiritual truths being proclaimed. Water baptism pictures the most fundamental truths of the Gospel: the burial and resurrection of Christ, and of the believer in union with Him. By means of water baptism, we demonstrate to the world our identification with the crucified and risen Christ. By water baptism we testify that our old life is gone, and we are now joined with Jesus. We are pledging ourselves to a new life, with Jesus Christ Who died for us and rose again. Water baptism also acknowledges that the person being immersed is indeed a Christian believer. So, all who baptize should question converts, just as Philip did in Acts 8:37, to be sure of their commitment to Christ, before immersing them in water. Only those who accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ should be baptized in water.

    Matthew 28:19 "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." In Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "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"

    Some people place great importance on certain words being spoken when a person is baptized in water. This is all religious tradition with no valued meaning whatsoever. "In the name of Jesus" can mean by the authority and command of Jesus. Colossians 3:17 tells us our every word and deed should be in the name of the Lord Jesus. Certainly, Colossians 3:17 does not mean we have to continually say, "I do this, or say this, in the name of Jesus." Claiming that certain words must be said at the time of water baptism, or that only certain special people can truly baptize you in water, makes water baptism into a magical rite -- a work of man trying to be right with God. The words spoken by the person baptizing you in water will not save you, or condemn you. Water baptism is not some magic ritual which makes you right with God. Water baptism is a testimony and picture-sermon of what God did in you. Even if no words are spoken over you during your water baptism, it is still a picture of burial and resurrection. Specific words are not what is important, but the attitudes and faith of the people involved are what matters. When baptizing new believers, saying something like, "In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I baptize you into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," is considered the best. Then the devil cannot tempt them to think they were not baptized in the right name.

    People often ask, “must you be baptized to be saved?" In Luke 23:39-43, we have the record of one of the criminals crucified with Jesus acknowledging Him as Lord. Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

    Jesus told the criminal he would be with Him in Paradise, even though he was not baptized in water. Also, in Acts 10:44-48, Cornelius' household became believers, received the Holy Spirit, and began speaking in tongues, before being baptized in water. According to Jesus (John 7:38-39, Mark 16:17), receiving the Holy Spirit happens only to those who are believers, and therefore saved. So, we must conclude that these believers were born again, and ready for Heaven, before they were baptized in water.

    Titus 3:5 “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.” We are not saved by works of righteousness that we do. Many think, wrongly, of water baptism as a work that must be done to be right with God.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." If water baptism was necessary for salvation, then salvation would partly be by works, and not by grace.

    1 Corinthians 1:17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” The apostle Paul, who received the Gospel direct from the risen Lord Jesus, said he was not sent to baptize. If water baptism was necessary for salvation, that would not make any sense.

    Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Obviously, if water baptism was required for salvation, that requirement would be made clear throughout the New Testament -- and it is not. Mark 16:16 could mean, "believes to the point of publicly confessing, by the act of water immersion." Or, it could mean, "believes and is placed in Christ." We should also note that the passage in question does not say, "He who believes and was baptized will be saved." Only a present tense baptism guarantees a person's salvation. That is to say: those who are IN CHRIST now, are saved. Salvation cannot be dependent on physical surroundings -- such as water being present for baptism -- there are too many situations where water baptism would be impossible. Those who make this error do so because the word baptize was not translated and understood. Therefore, they think every mention in Scripture of the word baptize refers to water -- which is not true. Baptism in water is not necessary for salvation, but is beneficial for the believer. Water baptism provides a good foundation, if understood correctly.

    The main points to remember about water baptism are:
    • It does not make you a Christian, or right with God. It is only a symbolic act with no power to save you.
    • It is a testimony of what has already happened inwardly in the believer -- the death of their old life.
    • A prepared or ritualistic formulas of words are not vital.
    • It is chiefly a complete immersion into water, although sprinkling can be considered.
    • It is best done publicly, much as wedding vows require a witness.
    • It should be done only by someone old enough to understand what they are doing.
    • It should be done only by those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ and are committed to Him.
    Should you be baptized in water? Yes, if you understand clearly what you are doing, and sincerely mean what baptism signifies. Otherwise, you should not be baptized in water, because it will not benefit you.


    • #3
      In my opinion you must be baptized

      What is baptism? Baptism is exactly what SERay said, and more. It is a promise a covenant toward God. You promise to be born again through Christ and take upon his name.

      If you never take upon the name of Christ you will never be saved in the Kingdom of Heaven.

      There exist various philosophies of what happens after we Die. Most of Christianity believes you will be judged the moment you die. But there are various differing beliefs.

      I do not believe this Paradise, or Persian word for garden is the same thing as Heaven.

      For God Resides in Heaven and when Christ appeared to Mary He said.
      "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." John 20:17

      So Where was He, it Peter it says one place He was
      Peter 3:18-22
      " 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
      19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
      20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
      21 The like figure whereunto even 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:
      22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him."

      So When Christ was dead in the Flesh he preached to the spirits who died in the flood of Noah. Could He not also Preach to this man in Paradise? And then Christ after He Resurrected on the third day, NOT same day as on cross, he saw Mary and ascended into heaven.

      21 is also interesting because is says Baptism saves us, the act of being baptized does not mean you will be saved, in order to be saved you have to turn your life over to Christ and be changed, which is in affect what baptism symbolizes.

      Final Judgement in my belief hasn't happened yet. The Spirits of the Dead are awaiting there judgement in prision, or paradise, ....

      Matt 6:27
      "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."

      Matt 19:28
      "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

      Matt. 25: 32
      "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats"

      Rev 20: 12
      "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."

      and then again in peter is says the gospel is preached unto people who are dead, So everyone will have a chance to come to know the Christ.

      1 Peter 4:5-6
      "Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
      For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit."

      So Christ Preached unto the dead so they too might be saved if they believe.
      This is my belief. I know there are many other interpretations of these scriptures, but this is how I understand it, for our God is a merciful and just God. He will give everyone a chance.

      Now again For Baptism. This is what the Word says.

      Matt 3:13-16
      "13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
      14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest
      thou to me?
      15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
      16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:"

      Why Was Christ Baptized? Because He, even though he was perfect, needed to be baptized to fulfil all righteousness. If he needed to be, don't we also need to be?

      Christ answers these questions
      Mark 10:35-39
      "35 ΒΆ And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.
      36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?
      37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
      38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
      39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized"

      And again in

      John 3:5
      "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

      I believe a man must enter the water to be baptized as a symbol to take upon his name in order to enter His Kingdom, But I also believe all man will have that opportunity. because God is Just. I respect your beliefs, but this is what I believe with my heart.


      • #4
        So in summary if we become followers of Christ we should be obedient to HIs word and be baptized by full immersion? As in Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

        What if the person was an infant when they were baptized in which they were not able to consciously repent and make a confession of their faith? These believers are baptized and then later in life they may actually repent and make a confession of their faith. The steps are backwards from what the bible teaches us.

        I know that there is nothing that we can do to aid in the salvation process by good works or abstaining from sin. But God has some things that He clearly wants us to do according to what I read in scripture a) Repent by turning away from your sinful lifestyle and turning towards God. b) To be baptized. Why is baptism considered a good work, while repentance is not considered a good work? Repenting is something we ourselves have to do by our own free will. Both of which are steps of obedience for God. If we do not do these steps of obedience do we really believe?



        • #5
          Baptism is held by most Protestants as an external tangible of minimal significance, not worth excessive speculations and study. It is simply an external rite, nothing more. It has no value in itself, it is only a symbolic act... it will not save us, enhance us, bring us closer or increase our experience. Of all possible things, is has the least of value in spirit or purpose... it is only a rite. If you say you want to follow Jesus, you will not resist the rite. If you do resist the rite, they one can question your heart of obedience. That is about as much as one can read into baptism.

          Since Baptism has no power to save, redeem, restore, resurrect or any other spiritual power, the need to be baptized again is mute. However, if a person feels within themselves they need to seek an adult baptism as compliance to Scripture, then by all means do. It is always about the conscience, not the act. If the conscience remains unsure or betrayed by an act committed or not performed, it is prudent to adjust one's course to rectify as to find peace. While I may think it not necessary, it may be to another, and to each his own choice according to the faith granted him, as Paul would say. Depending on what church you go to, the commentary will differ. For instance, the Assemblies of God will encourage a person baptized as an infant to again be baptized as an adult.

          Infant baptism means nothing regarding salvation in truth, it is only a ritual that signifies dedication to God. Pedobaptism could be traced back as an ancient ritual unto Molech (Leviticus 20:1-5), where a child was sacrificed to appease the demon god. As with all pagan observations, the Catholic church was said to Christianized it. However, they along with many other denominations like Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican, Orthodox, Assyrian, UCC, Reformed... and the list goes on, adopted it as a TRADITION. Rather affused (poured), aspersion (sprinkled) or immersed, it doesn't matter. Child baptism goes back to the first half of the second century when Irenaeus mentions it... along with Tertullian (my favorite early apologist). You can read about it in the Didache, which constituted the first catechism.

          The Catholics, Orthodox and Assyrian churches consider pedobaptism an essential and immemorial tradition of the church. They consider infant baptism as of apostolic origin. The Roman Catholic church wants the child to be given the benefit of the Christian upbringing required by the sacrament.

          Lutherans also practice infant baptism because they believe that God mandates it. For them baptism is a "means of grace" through which God creates and strengthens "saving faith" as the "washing of regeneration" (Titus 3:5) in which infants and adults are reborn (John 3:3-7): "baptismal regeneration." Even though baptized infants cannot articulate that faith, Lutherans believe that it is present all the same.

          Methodists contend that infant baptism has spiritual value for the infant. Methodists view baptism in water as symbolic and believe that it does not regenerate the baptized nor cleanse them from sin, which is concurrent with most views in the Protestant church. Wesley's own views of infant baptism shifted over time as he put more emphasis on salvation by faith and new birth by faith alone. Methodists see the ceremony additionally as a celebration of God's prevenient grace. Prevenient grace is a principle is that "The Fall of Man" ruined the human soul to such an extent that nobody wants a relationship with God.

          Presbyterian and Reformed Christians believe that baptism is a symbol, as a wedding ring is a symbol of marriage. The grace it conveys, however, is not justifying grace. Baptism, according to this tradition, does not produce Christians, but identifies the child as a member of the covenant community, which is also concurrent with most views in the Protestant church.

          By the third century, Christians in many denominations chose to wait until adulthood, or at least the age of "accountability" to ensure the act would coincide to fulfill the command of scriptures. The command to baptize in Scripture was always for those aware of their own sins. Children do not have this awareness, at least until the age of "accountability" which could range from age 6 to 10 typically.

          As you can see, varied denominations have a different take and if you spend excessive time on the matter, the confusion will perpetuate. A person has to seek the Spirit's counsel within and accept the matter in peace along with the affirming counsel of a mature mentor. Once established in a confidently assured position, it is not beneficial continuing to subject yourself to the varied opinions, whereas they will create ongoing confusion.


          • #6
            If Baptism is not really that important why does Jesus and the apostles charge us to complete Baptism?


            • #7
              The study does not imply baptism is not important in itself, but that it is not an essential component for salvation. Only Christ's blood alone justifies us before the perfect Creator, the water is merely a witness to others and to ourselves regarding passing from death in sin unto a new life in Christ... a rebirth. It is externally symbolic and may touch our sense of change, but baptism in itself does not change the heart.

              Much like a ring in marriage. The ring only represents your heart to your spouse, but it isn't of any value itself for the heart's commitment. Whether you wear a ring or even own a ring, the heart is all that matters. Baptism in essence, is important for the sake of obedience and testimony. When John the Baptism debated baptizing Christ, Jesus responded "Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). Christ wanted to comply to the external representation of the regeneration by baptism. John and Christ both knew that Jesus didn't require the baptism of repentance, but Christ wanted to fulfill the ordinance as a sign to others. Compliance, submission, obedience.

              Yes, you will run across those who don't have a grasp of proper exegesis, but rather hold to the teachings of man and tradition. You cannot trust someone's understanding of Scripture just because of age or their voice of authority. A trusted mentor must have historical knowledge combined with a spiritually discerning heart. Age alone, or even position in a church is NEVER a measure for trusted counsel. We must always be like Berean's, testing everything taught us! But once the truth is proven, we are not to continue to cross examine or test as to weary those appointed.

              Amazing really, how much is held in error for improper understanding of content. For example, one of the most common used proof texts to justify baptism as a requirement of salvation is Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus. He told Nicodemus in John 3:5 ..."Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." A person without proper training in biblical interpretation will often (too often) take Scripture at face value and decide what they reason to be true. To be baptized by water is a elliptical form of speech, for the Holy Spirit under the similitude of water; as, in Matthew 3:3, the Holy Ghost and fire, do not mean two things, but one, viz. the Holy Ghost under the similitude of fire. Whereas by "water" in John 3:5 is meant, in a figurative and metaphorical sense, the grace of God, as it is elsewhere; see Ezekiel 36:25. The Jews often spoke in dual-axioms to make a point about one subject.

              When first considering this passage, it is important to note that nowhere in the context of the passage is baptism even mentioned. However, simply reading these verses in context would give one no reason to assume Jesus was speaking of water baptism, unless one was looking to read into the passage a preconceived idea or theology. To automatically read baptism into this verse simply because it mentions “water” is unwarranted. Had Jesus actually wanted to say that one must be baptized to be saved, He could have simply stated, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is baptized and born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Further, if Jesus had made such a statement, He would have contradicted numerous other Bible passages that make it clear that salvation is by faith (John 3:16; John 3:36; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).

              Of water and of the Spirit, a twofold explanation of the "new birth," a startling teaching for Nicodemus. To a Jewish ecclesiastic, who was very familiar with the symbolical application of water, in every variety of way and form of expression, this language was fitted to show that the thing intended was no other than a thorough spiritual purification by the operation of the Holy Ghost. Indeed, the element of water and operation of the Spirit are brought together in a glorious evangelical prophesy, as stated above, from Ezekiel 36:25-27.

              The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions read, "the Holy Spirit", and who doubtless is intended: by "water", is not meant material water, or baptismal water; for water baptism is never expressed by water only, without some additional word, which shows, that the ordinance of water baptism is intended. As mentioned above, nor has baptism any regenerating influence in it; a person may be baptized, as Simon Magus was (Acts 8), and yet not born again. It is so far from having any such virtue, that a person ought to be born again, before he is admitted to that ordinance: and though submission to it is necessary, in order to a person's entrance into the fellowship of the brethren; yet it is not necessary to the kingdom of heaven, or to eternal life and salvation. Baptism, considered merely as a rite, and apart from the operation of the Spirit, does not and cannot impart the new life.

              As with any single verse or passage, we discern what it teaches by first comparing it with what we know the Bible teaches on the subject at hand. In the case of baptism and salvation, the Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works of any kind, including baptism (Ephesians 2:8-9). So, any interpretation which comes to the conclusion that baptism, or any other act, is necessary for salvation, is a erroneous interpretation.


              • #8
                I agree with everything that you write sir. I do not think the issue is whether baptism is what saves us, because that is clearly the blood of Jesus Christ. What I am trying to demonstrate is that baptism is an important aspect of salvation/gospel because Jesus himself and the Apostles tell us to do it. It is a step of obedience. Jesus tells us to go to the ends of the Earth declaring the gospel, baptizing in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Paraphrased). The Apostles in Acts tells the Jews to repent and be baptised every one of you (Paraphrased). Would you question whether the free will act of repentence is an important aspect of salvation? Is this a work?

                If Jesus and the Apostles tells us to do something, I think we should do it. If the Creator of the Universe thinks it is an important part of our salvation, I tend to trust His judgment over my own.


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