Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation
Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation – The Meaning
People around the world ask this question: Is baptism necessary for salvation? The word "baptism" is a transliteration of the Greek word "baptisma" and this word is from a primary Greek verb "bapto," which is also the root of the word baptize. The word means to dip, to dye or to change the identification of. When a piece of white cloth was "bapto" into a vat of blue dye, it no longer was white cloth because its identification was changed to blue cloth. That is the root of the meaning of the word.
The rite of baptism was a ritual in the Jewish culture from the beginning. Ceremonial washing of priests and the dipping temple utensils into water was part of the law. For instance, a priest was "baptized" into his office as a priest and it was to dedicate and identify the priest in his position. This baptism set apart the priest to take part in the temple worship and sacrifices. The baptism of the utensils set them apart for a specific use in worship. When John the Baptist came on the scene, Jews came to him to be baptized for the confession of their sins. This was not for salvation because the LORD Jesus Christ had not yet paid the price for sin. The baptism of John the Baptist was an Old Testament economy baptism and it only signified the participant's willingness to confess his sin and therefore, John the Baptist's baptism was for repentance (Acts 19:4).
Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation – The Biblical Evidence
It is interesting to note that Jesus did not baptize. "The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but His disciples" (John 4:1-2). If water baptism were necessary for salvation, wouldn't Jesus have baptized? Jesus presented Himself to the Jews as their Messiah with signs and Messianic miracles, but He did not baptize them.
The Apostle Paul only baptized a few. "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel -- not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power" (1 Corinthians 1:13-17).
Those who teach that baptism is necessary for salvation overlook this statement of Paul's. If water baptism were necessary for salvation would not the Apostle Paul have made water baptism a central theme of his ministry? Rather, the Apostle Paul taught the "baptism of the Holy Spirit," which occurs when one is born again and it is a spiritual identification as the believer is placed IN Christ. "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body -- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free" (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit baptizes us or identifies us as a child of God and then seals us and sets us apart to the "day of redemption" or the day when our redemption will be completed and we see Him "face to face." "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).
Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation – The Conclusion
Is baptism necessary for salvation? If the question is concerning water baptism, the answer is no. We are not saved by ritual or works but by "grace through faith." "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, water baptism does not save us. However, the baptism of the Spirit is necessary for salvation and that has nothing whatever to do with water and it is not something we do for ourselves, it is God's gift to us at the moment we are born again.
If water baptism were not necessary for salvation, why then would someone be baptized? Baptism is an outward action based on an inward reality. Baptism is a testimony that the participant has trusted in Christ as Savior and they are identifying himself/herself by submitting themselves to baptism. We cannot rest our hope of salvation on something that we can do for ourselves, rather we must recognize our need of a Savior and accept the LORD Jesus Christ's finished work for our redemption. That finished work is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and three days later rose from the dead. Then, if we chose to be baptized, it is an act of testimony to others of the reality of our personal identification with Christ.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions