Hello there my friends LeaFiore here again. Today the question is:
Is baptism necessary for salvation? I am going to look into this and touch on the baptism of the Holy Spirit as well.
This is an interesting question and I have heard a lot of back and forth on. I think the Bible is pretty clear on if it is a salvation issue or not. There are problems when we add anything to Jesus’ atoning work on the Cross and what is necessary for salvation. It then becomes works based and works based is law and law only condemns it doesn’t save.
Baptism is a subject that many get tripped up about. The question is do we need to do something in order to be saved apart from what Christ has already done and the answer is no. Baptism is a demonstration of our willingness to repent. An outward sign of commitment but for salvation to happen you have to have the change in your heart. A sign can’t save. And being dunked in water can’t change your heart. It can only show that you are professing a change of heart.
Baptism in my opinion arguably is for believers only. That is what we see as examples in the Bible so that is what I stick with since that is our guidelines.
When we look at doctrine we can’t just look at one verse and overlook the rest. That goes with all doctrine. When it says to work out our salvation with fear and trembling we ought to do that. Being careful not to go beyond scripture and shaping and forming our beliefs by what it says.
I hear John 3:5 being used to say that you have to be water baptized in order to be saved and that there are multiple baptisms for salvation but that just isn’t so. John 3:5 says “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
if we stop there I can see to some extent why people get tripped up but if you read the next verse it tells you more John 3:6 says
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:5-6 NASB1995
This kind of clears up a bit of the muddiness. When you are born of water you come from your mothers womb and when you are born again you are born of spirit or Regenerated. That is when upon salvation the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us. All believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them because the Bible says he is a seal and a promise.
Jesus said in Mark 16:15-16
We see here that he who has believed and been baptized shall be saved: but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. It doesn’t say anything about not being baptized in the condemnation, it is disbelief. John 3:16-18 says
When we look at this it tells us what we have to do to obtain eternal life. We need to believe. Again those condemned are condemned because they did not believe, if baptism were a factor in salvation then throughout all of the places that talk about salvation requirements this would be mentioned also. You never see what you do to be saved and then leave belief out because that is the requirement. Jesus did it all for us already.
I know many who can excuse the fact that the thief on the cross wasn’t able to be baptized before he died yet Jesus said today I will see you in paradise yet still believe salvation is mandatory but I am not sure how you can excuse it and say but you have to be baptized to be saved. It is either necessary or it isn’t .
If the question was should we be baptized I would say absolutely Jesus commanded us to and we ought to want to out of sheer obedience if nothing else but it doesn’t change your status. It is us professing our faith. It is us being obedient to the words of Christ but by no means does it earn you anything. You are saved by faith through grace alone, not by anything that you do. The thief was saved just as everyone else was by faith through grace a gift from God.
God loved us so much that he came down and did all the work for us. The only thing that we have to do is believe he is who he says he is and that he did what he said he did and put our trust in him. There is no THING we can do to help him. He did it.
People talk about acts 2:38 as a baptism being mandatory passage.
But the word used for “for” is used in other places and can mean because of or upon. It very well could read repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus because of the forgiveness of your sins. If you are forgiven you are saved. That is the whole point. I think it is pretty clear the way that the Bible states it already especially when you look at the whole of scripture and what it says about baptism but The same word is used in Matthew 12:41
This word AT is the same word as FOR. It says they repented at the preaching of Jonah. They repented because he preached to them. It was a subsequent thing that happened. It is like cause and effect, you believe and that causes you to decide to be baptized.
John 5:24 says
Here is another place that talks about the requirements for salvation. Whoever hears his word and believes, does not come into judgment but lives. John 20:30-31 says
We see a theme going the one thing that runs through all of these verses is that in order to be saved you have to believe. Baptism is a beautiful sign. It is something we do as a symbol of our death with Christ and rebirth. It doesn’t save us though. Matthew 28:18-20 says
When it says make disciples of the nations baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit. Disciples are saved. So after you become a disciple you get baptized. So baptism comes after salvation to those who do this command. We do it out of obedience and respect, we don’t do it to get anything. Acts 11:15-18 says
It says God gave to them the same gift as he gave to them also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. And then it says well then God has granted to the gentiles also the repentance that leads to life. These people hadn’t been baptized yet. This was God showing them that he was saving the gentiles as well as the Jews. But if baptism was mandatory or necessary then they wouldn’t have had the repentance that leads to life. Are we to think that the disciples were only saved after the Holy Spirit fell on them? 1 Corinthians 1:17 says
Why would Christ not send him to baptize if that is what saves? He sent him to preach the gospel because that is what has the power unto salvation. Romans 1:16 says
There is another camp of people who say there are multiple baptisms that you must get baptized in water and baptized by the Holy Spirit. They say that you can be saved and not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit but the Bible says that all who are saved will have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. And that there is only one baptism
There is one spirit and we are baptized into one body and that is the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:4-5 says
Do you See? One baptism, And even that is talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit which some say arguably happened on the day of Pentecost. Though you can say apart from four unique accounts in acts that it is when the Spirit of God places the believer into union with Christ and into union with other believers in the body of Christ at the moment of salvation empowering them in the process.
There are four unique places in the Bible talking about people getting the Holy Spirit that are also accompanied by signs that aren’t normative. There are reasons for each one but we aren’t going to get into that today. So many argue about multiple baptisms of the Holy Spirit but I argue that upon salvation you are sealed with the spirit and he works in you so there is no need for recurrent baptisms.
This isn’t a separate baptism, and it most assuredly isn’t being dunked in water. If you want to say baptism saves the only way that actually fits is to say that you are baptized in the spirit upon salvation and it is not in our power or any THING that we do other than believing. Water baptism speaks of a ritual, it is a symbol.
We can’t do anything to save ourselves but for some reason people come up with a thousand ways we need to help Jesus save us. It makes me wonder how little people believe Jesus is or how great people think that they are if in any way they think they can help with salvation. Nowhere in scripture are believers told to be baptized with, in or by the Spirit, or in any sense to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit but to say you need a separate baptism goes against what we already are told and that is one baptism.
When we are saved and the Holy Spirit indwells us he equips us and empowers us to do the will of God. To live a life that glorifies him. We don’t have to beg for it, we don’t have to work for it we simply accept it to be true. This experience is a reality for every believer. Ephesians 2:8-9 says
As soon as we add to what is needed for salvation we are then putting legalistic requirements on ourselves and you will never be able to be saved that way. You are not and can not be good enough. That is the point, but Jesus is.
We are sinners and our payment for sin is death and hell. Jesus loves us so much and is so awesome that he came down and lived the perfect life and fulfilled all of the law. He died a horrific death on the cross in payment for our sins. If we believe that he is who he says he is and that he did what he said he did according to scripture and put our trust in him he puts his rightness with God and purity on us and when God looks at us he sees the purity of Christ and in the end we will be raised with him in Eternity. Don’t take back your sin and make it your burden again. You can’t be forgiven with your own righteousness. It’s only through the work of Jesus. Turn from your sin and trust in Christ and be saved.
I hope that this was helpful. I know I rapid fired verses here but hopefully it helped with clarity. I love y’all and Pray that you have a blessed day