Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? An Introduction

I am convinced God wants all believers to be baptized. But that does not negate the point of the article; belief in the Jesus of the Bible opens heaven’s doors for us; baptism doesn’t.

Many years ago I wrote an article about baptism.

I’ve received countless emails inquiring why I’d write such an article. Am I trying to mislead people? Am I trying to avoid being baptized myself? Am I making excuses for family members or friends who haven’t been baptized? Why write such a divisive article?

Hopefully this simple answer will suffice. Some time ago, someone tried convincing me that achieving salvation meant following strict procedures and rules. First I had to read these verses, then pray this, then do that, then this, then that, and so on. If I rejected the prescription, then I lacked genuine faith. If I didn’t accept the routine, then God didn’t accept me.

One of the steps in the recipe involved baptism by immersion. Without it, I’d never make it to heaven. The emphasis always lay in the procedures, not on the relationship.

My problem with the above is that I don’t find it in the Bible. I find strong evidence to the contrary. Jesus broke the rules. He established relationships. He baptized none. Paul baptized few. The thief on the cross went to be in Paradise with Jesus without baptism. Jesus told the rich young ruler in Luke 18 to “follow Me.” He wanted the man to forsake all and to be with Him. He told Martha in John 11 that “everyone who believes in Me will never die.” He asked her if she believed that. Do you believe it? I do. Nowhere does the Bible say, “Be baptized and you will be saved.” The closest you’ll find to that is Mark 16:16.

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (ESV)

What does this verse say? It says that anyone who does not believe will be condemned. And that’s what I affirm.

Does this mean baptism should be avoided? Not at all. Jesus began His ministry by being baptized (Matthew 3); He ended His ministry by commanding his disciples to go into all the world and baptize (Matthew 28:19). Peter tells us in Acts to be baptized. In the New Testament, when people came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, baptism followed. This pattern should be a model for us. I’d worry if someone opposed baptism.

Please read this article knowing that I have been baptized. I am convinced God wants all believers to be baptized. But that does not negate the point of the article; belief in the Jesus of the Bible opens heaven’s doors for us; baptism doesn’t.

Read the article here.

26 thoughts on “Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation? An Introduction”

  1. Excellent response. I think people are always looking to judge motives. We do it sometimes ourselves. But the simple truth is that salvation is either by faith or by works. If it is by works, then circumcision, keeping the law, baptism, and other rituals can be argued to be “necessary.” Everyone will have their own set of works that need to be done, either by others (as in the case of circumcision and baptism) or by themselves (as in keeping the law).

    But if salvation is truly by faith, then works are the product of salvation (Ephesians 2:10), not the necessary prerequisite. Romans 3:39-4:5. Titus 3:5 instructs us that works of righteousness do not save us. This would include baptism, as it is a work as much as circumcision is, another work that Scripture is clear does nothing to effect our salvation (Galatians 5:2-6).

    Baptism is important as a Christian, not to become a Christian. In the great didactic passages on salvation, baptism is never mentioned (John 3:3-21 (unless someone takes the “born of water” as being a symbolic reference to baptism); John 5:24; John 11:25-26borRomans 10; Galatians 2:16-21; Ephesians 1:4-14; 2:1-10; 1John 5:11-13. Each of these passage miss a critical element, if baptism is necessary for salvation. And those who follow the instructions of these passages do not have eternal live, even though God said that they did. I side with God on this matter. Faith in the crucified, risen Jesus of the Bible is the only basis for salvation. Upon faith, our great God and Savior removes our sins, places us in Himself, sends His Spirit to regenerate us, seals us, and presents us blameless before the eyes of our Father.

    Baptism links us to Jesus. We follow Him in baptism. He was not baptized for His salvation. Neither are we. Like Him, we are baptized to fulfill part of what it means to live a life of righteousness in following our dear Savior.

  2. While I applaud your zeal, you are yet lacking in knowledge. The thief on the cross was not under the NEW Covenant as Jesus had not yet died and been resurrected. In addition, every instance of conversion in the Book of Acts includes baptism: The 3,000 in Acts 2, Cornelius, the jailer, the Ethiopian eunuch, Paul himself, and others. Finally, may I recommend you examine the following:
    http://oldpaths.master.com/texis/master/search/mysite.html?q=baptism

    It is a grave matter to incorrectly teach the Word of God. May God help you in your study.

  3. I always think one should be careful of stating that those who disagree with a certain position are lacking in knowledge. Fortunately, God accepts His children, although most of us do not have our theology completely correct. At least, I expect that my theology will be modified when I meet God; though that does not prevent me from trying to get as close to the truth as I can while living life on this earth.

    I am interested in the statement that the thief on the cross was not under the New Covenant. Do you have any Scriptural support for this position? It seems in my reading of Scripture that the death of Christ inaugurated the New Covenant. At least Hebrews talks about the blood of the covenant, and Christ tells us to celebrate the blood of the covenant. As I understand the chronology, Jesus stopped shedding blood long before the thief died. Scripture tells us that Pilate commanded the legs of those on the cross to be broken, and the soldiers did this to the two thieves to hasten their death. But they did not do this to Jesus because He had died already.

    And, if it is not the death of Christ that began the New Covenant, what event was it? I think the better view is that the thief may be the first of the believers to die under the New Covenant.

    In any event, your statement that every instance of conversion in the Book of Acts includes baptism is not supported by the language of Acts. What we can say is that those who were converted in Acts when baptism was mentioned were baptized. There are conversions where it is never said whether or not they were baptized. We presume they were baptized because of the command of our Lord.

    Paul, however, makes the strong statement in 1 Corinthians 1 that Christ did not send him to baptize, but to preach; and Paul states personally that he baptized very few of the Corinthians.

    In any event, I am not sure the point you are seeking to establish. I assume that there is something that you believe is incorrectly taught, as you set forth a warning about incorrectly teaching the Word of God. I simply am not able to discern what you believe is incorrect, so I am unable to respond fully.

    But, as with all differences in position on these matters, I am reminded of Saint Paul, who under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, tells us that knowledge puffs up but love edifies. While truth is important, it always takes a second seat to love in God’s great kingdom. Jesus taught us that people would know that we are Christians, not by our doctrinal purity, but by our love for one another. Love remains the greatest thing.

    May God lead us all both in the knowledge of the Word and in love one for another.

  4. “May God lead us all both in the knowledge of the Word and in love one for another.”
    Amen!
    “While truth is important, it always takes a second seat to love in God’s great kingdom.”
    Actually the Bible says the opposite in many verses such as Ephesians 4:
    14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

    Many People Believe Lies about Baptism

    Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He tells His followers: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31,32).

    The devil is a liar and the father of lies (John 3:44). He lied to Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:4), and he fills the world with lies today.

    Jesus brought grace and truth (John 1:17).

    The devil brings lies and destruction. Jesus said: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

    So, the choice is ours. Will we believe the truth of the Lord, or the lies of the devil?

    We who love the truth, must find the truth among all the lies.

    People believe the devil’s lies and are lost because they do not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). Paul told Timothy: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

    Some of the devil’s most destructive lies relate to baptism. Millions of pious people will be lost because they believed the devil’s lies about baptism.

    How can we know they are lies? By comparing them with the word of God. Jesus said: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). The bright light of God’s word can expose the devil’s dark lies about baptism.

    Lie number one:
    Infant baptism is valid.

    Because of this lie, many people think they have been baptized because someone else decided to have them christened when they were babies. What happened to them, however, bears no resemblance to the baptism we read about in the New Testament.

    Jesus said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). When the Ethiopian asked Philip, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:36,37). Baptism must be based on personal faith. A baby is not yet able to believe or to make a personal decision to follow Christ.

    Peter said: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). A baby cannot repent. He has committed no sins of which he needs to repent. Nor can he be baptized for the remission of sins, since he has committed no sins.

    If you have only been christened as a baby, you have been deceived. You have not been baptized at all.

    Lie number two:
    Sprinkling and pouring are valid forms of baptism.

    The word “baptism” is a transliteration of a Greek word meaning “immersion”. The context also makes this clear. “Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there” (John 3:23). Baptism requires much water. Paul writes: “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death” (Romans 6:4). We are “buried with Him in baptism” (Colossians 2:12). Baptism is an immersion, a burial in water.

    If you have never been immersed, you have been deceived. You have not experienced Christian baptism at all.

    Lie number three:
    Baptism is not for the forgiveness of sins.

    How do we know this is a lie? Because we are commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins. Listen to what happened on the Day of Pentecost. “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then 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'” (Acts 2:37,38).

    Many people refuse to obey this simple command because they have believed another lie, namely, that one is saved by faith only. How do I know this is a lie? Again, because the Bible says exactly the opposite! “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Who shall we believe, God or man? God says we are not saved by faith only. Evangelicals say we are saved by faith only. And because they have been deceived on this point, they also refuse to obey the command of Peter: “Be baptized … for the remission of sins.” As a consequence, Evangelical baptism, although immersion, is invalid because it is not done for the commanded purpose. It is an ineffectual ritual.

    Even if you have been immersed, if you were not baptized for the remission of sins, you did not obey the command Peter gave on the Day of Pentecost. You have been deceived. You have believed a lie. You have not been baptized at all.

    Lie number four:
    Baptism does not wash away sins.

    How do we know this is a lie? Because the Bible says exactly the opposite! Ananias told the penitent Paul, who had been praying and fasting for three days: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

    If you were deceived by the doctrine of salvation by faith only, thinking that you were already saved before baptism, you were not baptized to wash away your sins! What you experienced, although it was immersion, was not the same baptism Paul experienced. You have been deceived. You have not been baptized at all.

    Lie number five:
    One does not have to be baptized to be saved.

    How do we know this is a lie? Because Jesus said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16), and Peter wrote: “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely 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” (1 Peter 3:21).

    Baptism saves because of its relation to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not a cleansing of the body, it is a cleansing of the soul, a cleansing of the conscience by the power of Christ’s resurrection. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:3-5).

    Baptism is essential for salvation because God has ordained that our union with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is accomplished through baptism.

    When someone asserts that salvation is possible through faith in Christ without baptism, he is lying because he thereby proves that he does not believe Christ. Jesus said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” but he does not believe what Jesus said.

    If you were immersed thinking you were saved before baptism, or that baptism was not necessary for salvation, you have not experienced the baptism we read about in the Bible. You have been deceived.

    Lie number six:
    The rebirth is separate from baptism. Water baptism is not essential.

    We know this is a lie because Paul wrote that there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5), and because Jesus told Nicodemus: “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). Both the water and the Spirit are involved in the one baptism commanded by Christ. The rebirth is realized by the Spirit of God when a penitent believer is immersed into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. From the watery grave of baptism, he rises to walk in newness of life.

    If you think you were baptized by the Spirit, separate from, or without, baptism in water, you have dismembered the one baptism. You have been deceived. What you experienced was not the baptism Christ commanded.

    What is true baptism?

    If we simply preach and obey what Jesus and His apostles said about baptism, our baptism will be valid.

    There is “one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4). “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” (Mark 16:16). “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

    Roy Davison

    The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
    Permission for reference use has been granted.

    Published in The Old Paths Archive
    (http://www.oldpaths.com)

    May God lead us all both in the knowledge of the Word and in love one for another.

  5. Greetings!

    Thanks for your comments. Many of your arguments above have been addressed in the article here.

    I also find a lack of Scriptural support for infant baptism or sprinkling.

    The majority of your arguments you support with one or two verses. I am loathe to formulate a theology based upon one or two verses. I prefer to look at Scripture in its context, and when I do so, I find overwhelming support for the simple truth that God wants us to believe in Him and to love Him. If we truly love Him, Scripture tells us, our lives will be radically different. So, true belief, Scriptural belief, involves repentance, or an about-face in our lifestyle.

    Baptism is a work. We obtain salvation through faith.

    Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    Eph 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

  6. Regarding the thief on the cross, Wayne Jackson has written at his website
    http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/739-the-last-will-and-testament-of-jesus-christ

    “The denominational community vigorously protests the idea that water baptism is a requirement for the forgiveness of sins – in spite of several clear passages that so affirm (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22;16; Eph. 5:26; 1 Pet. 3:21). Almost invariably, in attempting to negate the force of these texts, they will appeal to the example of the “thief on the cross,” who supposedly received pardon without baptism. A respected theologian, Wayne Grudem, attempts to argue this very point. He writes:

    “The thief could not have been baptized before he died on the cross, but he was certainly saved that day. Moreover, the force of the point cannot be evaded by arguing that the thief was saved under the old covenant (under which baptism was not necessary to salvation), because the new covenant took effect at the death of Jesus (see Heb. 9:17), and Jesus died before either of the two thieves who were crucified with him (see John 19:32-33)” (981).

    It is distressing that a man of considerable ability would make such a colossal mistake. Pardon was granted to the penitent thief before the Savior died; the man’s forgiveness, therefore, was not upon the basis of the terms of the testament that became efficacious after the Lord’s death! In addition, no one can prove that the thief had not been immersed at some time in the past – either by John the baptizer, or by one of the Lord’s disciples (Mk. 1:4; Jn. 4:1-2). {glossSub (“What about the Thief on the Cross?”,”Elsewhere”)} see our article on “The Thief on the Cross.”

    Here is the point that so many are missing. During his earthly ministry, Christ could grant pardon directly – as he did, for example, on behalf of the palsied man whose healing is recorded in Mark 2:1ff. While still on earth, the Lord had the “authority” to dispense blessings as he willed. After his death, however, his determination of salvation’s conditions was to be expressed in his “Last Will and Testament.” And in that document, immersion is stipulated as a requirement of pardon (Acts 2:38; 22:16).”

    Thank you for letting me contribute to the discussion.

  7. On a lighter note, here are 2 poems which address the issue of baptism, from http://southside-churchofchrist.com/basics/docs/prcoffee.htm

    THE PREACHER’S COFFEE
    Ben M. Bogard

    “I have a pleasant story, which I wish to tell in rhyme,
    About a circuit preacher, who lived in recent time.
    He was a circuit rider, for good John Wesley’s brand,
    And rode the finest circuit, in all the blessed land.

    At one of his good charges, some members, not a few,
    Became quite sorely troubled, about the word ‘INTO.’
    The good Book says quite plainly, in Acts in chapter eight,
    ‘They went down into the water,’ as Baptist people state.

    The preacher preached a sermon, of extra zeal and might,
    And to his satisfaction, he set the passage right.
    ‘Into’ does not mean ‘into’, but only ‘at’ or ‘near by,’
    They went down to the water, and got a small supply.

    But near the place of worship, there lived a sister Brown,
    And for her splendid cooking, she’d gained a great renown.
    Her yellow-legged chickens, her luscious cakes and pies,
    Had often made that preacher, roll up his weeping eyes.

    And her delicious coffee, In all the circuit round,
    The preacher oft admitted, its like could not be found.
    So when he preached his sermon, with extra power and length,
    He loved, at the Brown’s table, to revive his ebbing strength.

    But sister Brown was a Baptist, the strongest in the land;
    She oft reproved the Methodists, for changing God’s command.
    She heard the preacher’s sermon, and thought the subject o’er;
    Then asked him home for dinner, as she oft had done before.

    She ground her good brown coffee, her kettle steaming hot,
    And she put it ‘at’ or ‘near by’, the famous coffee pot.
    She poured her guest a cupful, (I think it was no sin);
    ‘But you forgot, dear sister, to put the coffee in.’

    ‘No, no, dear sir, that’s coffee; I ground a good supply,
    And put it ‘at’ the kettle, (‘into’ is ‘at’ or ‘near by.’)
    By the logic of your sermon; (I thought it rather thin),
    If ‘at’ or ‘near by’ is ‘into’, I put the coffee IN.

    So if you will truly promise, no more such stuff to teach,
    I’ll go and make some coffee, in line with Bible speech.
    And this time I will follow, instructions to the dot,
    And put the coffee ‘into’, not ‘at’ or ‘near by’ the pot!

    SEQUEL TO THE PREACHER’S COFFEE
    W. Curtis Porter

    “Just then in stepped a preacher, who wears a Bible name;
    The simple name of ‘Christian’, of apostolic fame.
    God put into the Bible, no human names to wear,
    And hence he was contented, the inspired mark to wear.

    Then Mrs. Brown he questioned, if surely she’d admit,
    Whether ‘into’ had the meaning, she had given it.
    She said she would most surely, and who would dare say not?
    ‘No coffee’s in the vessel, till put ‘into’ the pot!’

    Then gently spoke the preacher; ‘Don’t censure preacher Jones;
    You have spoken condemnation, to yourself in strongest tones.
    No need to hold tradition; such never did suffice;
    The Bible says that baptism, puts people ‘into’ Christ!’

    ‘No, no,’ replied the hostess; Such preaching is a sin;
    Sir, the preacher gives baptism, to those already in.’
    ‘Well, well,’ then spoke the preacher, ‘it surely gives me fun,
    To see this faithful Baptist, throw down her Baptist gun.

    If ‘into’ has the meaning, you have given it at last,
    Your shot at circuit riders, has gone into a blast!
    Then Philip and the eunuch, went not ‘into’ the creek,
    For they were ‘in’ already, and had been for a week!’

    ‘When Christians are invited, ‘into’ that heavenly clime,
    They’ll really not go ‘into’, they were in it all the time.
    And when the Lord will banish, the wicked ‘into’ hell;
    They’ll merely stay ‘in’ pleasures, on earth they love so well.’

    ‘You thought you put the coffee, ‘into’ the coffee pot;
    But it was ‘in’ already, and really boiling hot.
    Now, Mrs. Brown, please promise, that you’ll not have the gall,
    To hit folks with the Bible, unless you take it all.

    The Bible says so plainly (to which you have referred),
    ‘They went down ‘into’ the water,’ I trust its every word.
    It tells us that the righteous, go ‘into’ mansions fair;
    It tells us that the wicked, go down ‘into’ despair.

    It tells us just as surely, not only once, but twice;
    That that which is called ‘baptism’, puts people ‘into’ Christ.
    Now take it all, dear lady; false preachers you can rout,
    Or else just raise the window, and throw the Bible out!”

  8. Mr. E:

    You wrote : ” Baptism is a work.”

    Baptism is something done to you not by you. So how is it a work?

    And who are you disagreeing with by refusing to accept baptism as essential to salvation? Answer: The Bible, Jesus specifically.

  9. Dallas Professor Rebuffs Common Quibble on “Eis”

    By WAYNE JACKSON

    September 3, 2001
    del.icio.us:Dallas Professor Rebuffs Common Quibble on “Eis”

    On the day of Pentecost, at the conclusion of his presentation, the apostle Peter issued the following command.

    “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto [‘for’ KJV] the remission of your sins . . .” (Acts 2:38 ASV).

    The Greek preposition eis (for/unto) has long been a point of controversy between those who believe that baptism is essential to salvation, and those who repudiate that idea. It has been common over the years for scholars to allege that eis has a causal force, i.e., its meaning actually conveys this thought: ”. . . be baptized because of the remission of your sins.” “Forgiveness,” it is claimed, is received at the point of faith—and that alone.

    A.T. Robertson, the premier Baptist grammarian, argued this case in his famous work, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville: Broadman, 1930, III, 35-36). In addition, J.R. Mantey contended for the “causal” sense of eis in Acts 2:38, though he classified that use of the preposition as a “remote meaning.” His discussion clearly indicated, however, that he yielded to that view because of his conviction that, if baptism was “for the purpose of the remission of sins,” then salvation would be of works, and not by faith (a false conclusion) (see: H.E. Dana & J.R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, New York: Macmillan, 1955, 103-04). Those of the Baptist persuasion constantly appeal to Robertson and Mantey as authorities on this matter.

    It has been a matter of long-standing knowledge, however, that the standard Greek lexicons do not define eis as “because of” with reference to Acts 2:38. J.H. Thayer, for instance, translated the term as follows, citing Acts 2:38—“eis aphesin hamartion, to obtain the forgiveness of sins” (Greek-English Lexicon, Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1958, 94). Wm. Arndt and F.W. Gingrich, in a section where eis is defined as expressing “purpose,” with the sense of “in order to,” rendered the same phrase: “for forgiveness of sins, so that sins might be forgiven . . . Acts 2:38:” (Greek-English Lexicon, Chicago: University of Chicago, 1967, 228).

    Elliger states that eis, in Acts 2:38, is designed “to indicate purpose” (Horst Balz & Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990, Vol. 1, 399). In his discussion of Acts 2:38, Ceslas Spicq noted: “Water baptism is a means of realizing this conversion, and its goal—something altogether new—is a washing, ‘the remission of sins’” (Theological Lexicon of the New Testament, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994, Vol. 1, 242). It is hardly necessary to pile up additional testimony.

    That brings me to this point. In 1996, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, an associate professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, published his new book, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan). It is a scholarly volume of more than 800 pages. In his discussion of eis, Wallace lists five uses of the preposition, and among them “causal” is conspicuously missing!

    Prof. Wallace explains the absence. He says that an “interesting discussion over the force of eis took place several years ago, especially in relation to Acts 2:38.” He references the position of J.R. Mantey, that “eis could be used causally” in this passage. Wallace mentions that Mantey was taken to task by another scholar, Ralph Marcus (Marcus, Journal of Biblical Literature, 70 [1952] 129-30; 71 [1953] 44). These two men engaged in what Dr. Wallace called a “blow-by-blow” encounter. When the smoke had cleared, the Dallas professor concedes, “Marcus ably demonstrated that the linguistic evidence for a causal eis fell short of proof” (370).

    It is not that Prof. Wallace has come to the conviction that baptism is essential for salvation. No, he resorts to other manipulations to resist that conclusion.

    He has, however, rebuffed a long-defended argument. We are happy for that progress, and we, with genuine sincerity, pray that many of our Protestant, “faith-only” friends will make even further advancements toward the truth of the first-century gospel.
    http://www.christiancourier.com/search?q=eis&sa=Search

  10. Some answers to:
    Water Baptism . . . Is it Necessary for Salvation?

    On 16 Aug, 2008 I said that every instance of conversion in Acts includes baptism. Below are the 8 instances of conversion in Acts.

    Belief is not enough by itself: Even the demons believe. Belief must be followed by obedience to Christ: Believe and be baptized.

    1. Acts 2: 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
    43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

    • Those people who heard Peter’s sermon believed ( “they were pierced to the heart”) but THEY WERE NOT YET SAVED. So they weren’t told to believe.
    • They were told to repent and be baptized, which is what they were lacking.
    • They were to be baptized FOR the remission or taking away of sins, not because they were already saved; they weren’t saved until after being baptized.
    • The 3,000 were baptized “that day” which shows the urgency of baptism in order to be saved.
    • The Lord added those who were being saved to the church.

    2. Acts 8: 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him [the Ethiopian eunuch]. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.

    • The urgency of baptism. It is required to be saved; otherwise, the Ethiopian could have waited for another day, a more convenient place, etc….
    • The baptism was of a person old enough to know right and wrong, not an infant.
    • The baptism was an immersion, “they came up out of the water”.
    • The Ethiopian “went on his way rejoicing” because he OBEYED the command of Jesus to believe AND be baptized. Mark 16: 16 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”
    • If you do not believe, you will be condemned. Even demons believe; but they do not obey.
    • If you truly believe, you will obey Christ and be baptized for the remission of sins, just as these Bible examples show.

    3. Acts 9: 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul [later called Paul], the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took food and was strengthened.

    Acts 22: 16 ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

    • Saul already believed because of the vision of Jesus he saw earlier Acts 9: 3 – 9.
    • What he lacked was obedience to Jesus by being baptized.
    • Saul was baptized right away; it is essential to salvation.
    • “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.”

    4. Acts 10: 1 Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually…. 30 Cornelius said, ……33…. Now then, we are all here present before God to hear all that you [Peter] have been commanded by the Lord.” …Peter said …. “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”……..47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

    • Cornelius was a devout man but NOT SAVED until he was baptized.
    • Belief in Christ is a first step. It must be followed by obedience to Christ’s commands to believe AND be baptized.

    5. Acts 16: 14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household had been baptized,………

    • Lydia, another devout person, believed but was not saved until baptized.
    • She and her household were baptized right away. Baptism is urgent.

    6. Acts 16: 22 The crowd rose up together against them [Paul and Silas], and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. 23 When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; 24 and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
    25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” 29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
    31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.

    • The jailer and his household believed and were baptized “immediately”.

    7. Acts 18: 7 Then he [Paul] left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.

    • Crispus and his household believed and then obeyed Christ by being baptized.

    8. Acts 19:1 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    • They heard, they believed and they were baptized.
    • The complete steps to becoming a Christian are:

    Hear the Gospel message, Believe in God and His Son, Jesus the Christ, Repent of your past sins, Confess that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God, and Be Baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit for the remission of your sins. Then live a faithful life, always leaning on Jesus, never our own strength.

  11. Tom, many of your arguments are addressed rather plainly in our articles on baptism.

    You can find them at the following links:

    https://truthsaves.org/doctrine/waterbaptism.shtml
    https://truthsaves.org/articles/baptism.shtml
    https://truthsaves.org/doctrine/water_baptism.shtml
    https://truthsaves.org/doctrine/baptize.shtml

    The following is off-site but is another excellent resource on the subject:

    http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/baptism.html

    The evidence for faith being the only requirement for salvation far outweighs the evidence for salvation as a result of baptism.

    * Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
    Luke 8:12 (NKJ)

    * But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.
    John 1:12 (NKJ)

    * 15). . .that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16)For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17)For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18)”He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    John 3:15-18 (NKJ)

    * He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    John 3:36 (NKJ)

    * “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”
    John 5:24 (NKJ)

    * And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
    John 6:35 (NKJ)

    * . . . “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    John 6:40 (NKJ)

    * ”Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
    John 6:47 (NKJ)

    * ”Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
    John 8:24 (NKJ)

    * Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
    John 11:25,26 (NKJ)

    * Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
    John 11:40 (NKJ)

    * . . . but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
    John 20:31 (NKJ)

    * ”To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
    Acts 10:43 (NKJ)

    * . . .and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
    Acts 13:39 (NKJ)

    * Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
    Acts 13:48 (NKJ)

    * ”But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
    Acts 15:11 (NKJ)

    * So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
    Acts 16:31 (NKJ)

    * For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
    Romans 1:16 (NKJ)

    * 9) . . .that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10)For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11)For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12)For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13)For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
    Romans 10:9-13 (NKJ)

    * For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
    I Corinthians 1:21 (NKJ)

    * . . . knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
    Galatians 2:16 (NKJ)

    * For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
    Ephesians 2:8 (NKJ)

    * For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
    I Thessalonians 4:14 (NKJ)

    * . . . that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
    II Thessalonians 2:12 (NKJ)

    * However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
    I Timothy 1:16 (NKJ)

    * For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest,”‘ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
    Hebrews 4:3 (NKJ)

    * But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
    Hebrews 10:39 (NKJ)

    * Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
    I Peter 2:6 (NKJ)

    * Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.
    I John 5:1 (NKJ)

    * These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
    I John 5:13 (NKJ)

    These verses present just some of the evidence that supports our position.

  12. Mr. E.on 28 Aug 2008 at 4:47 pm listed many Bible verses reqarding “believe”. Here is where we differ: I accept all of the Bible, including the verses listed; he stops at “believe”.

    1. Mark 16: 15-16 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

    a. vs 15 Go and preach the gospel implies that there are people who will hear the preaching, that they will understand it: That God loves us, sent His only begotten Son to be the one perfect sacrifice to take away man’s sins, and that we should obey Christ: “ Hear ye him.” Mark 9: 7

    b. Romans 10: 14 – 17 says “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” 16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    2. vs 16 Let’s break down this sentence into its basic parts.
    “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has
    disbelieved shall be condemned.”

    a. “He…… shall be saved.” “He” is the subject; “shall be saved” is the predicate. “He…… shall be saved.”
    Which words describe who HE is? Answer: “who has believed and has been baptized”.
    “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved….”

    b. Now the 2nd half: “he” again is the subject; the predicate is “shall be condemned”. “He….. shall be condemned.”
    Which words describe who HE is? Answer: “who has disbelieved”.
    No need to mention baptism here because if you do not believe, you won’t be obedient to Christ and be baptized anyway.
    Belief is a first step but it is not enough by itself: James 2: 19 says “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”

    2. Acts 2: 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of
    the Holy Spirit.”

    a. First, note the context: The audience hearing Peter’s sermon heard and
    understood that they were guilty of contributing to the crime (sin) of
    crucifying the Son of God, the Christ, the Messiah. Realizing this
    awful sin, they asked what to DO in order to have their sins forgiven.
    They already believed but were NOT yet forgiven.

    b. In answer to their question, what did Peter tell them to do?
    Peter did not tell them to believe: They already did.
    Peter did not tell them to pray “The Sinner’s Prayer,” as some denominational preachers do.
    Peter told them to do 2 things: Repent and be baptized.

    This is proof that we are not saved JUST by believing; it is only a first
    step. Belief is a first step but it is not enough by itself: James 2: 19
    says “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also
    believe, and shudder.”

    This is also proof that we are not saved just by believing and
    repenting. Baptism for the forgiveness of sins is also required.

    c. Some have tried to argue that “ for the forgiveness of your sins” means
    “because of the forgiveness of your sins”. First of all, the Greek preposition eis (translated as for) has “because” only as a remote (rare) meaning. (See http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/395-dallas-professor-rebuffs-common-quibble-on-eis which is posted above.)

    d. Secondly, notice how eis is used with other requirements for salvation.
    Alan E. Highers wrote in The Spiritual Sword, January 1994 issue, page 3:

    “In Romans 10:10, it is said ‘with the heart man believeth unto (eis) righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto (eis) salvation. Please note that this is the same preposition which is used in Acts 2:38 with repentance and baptism – ‘for (eis) the remission [forgiveness] of sins.’ …… If we are going to rule out the essentiality of baptism, based on the meaning of the word for (Greek eis), then must we not also rule out belief, repentance, confession, and even the blood of Christ for salvation?’

    The New American Standard Bible (NASB), one of the more literal translations, translates Romans 10:10:
    “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

    In conclusion, it is seen that belief is not enough by itself. James
    2:19 says “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons
    also believe, and shudder.”

    Belief must be followed by obedience to Christ:
    • Repent of your sins
    • Confess Christ as the Son of God
    • Be Baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and
    • Then lead a faithful life of service to God, always keeping in mind that we are sinners who need the continual cleansing of Christ blood

  13. We know that all who believe shall be saved (see the plethora of verses in previous responses). If you believe and are baptized, you will be saved also. If you disbelieve, you will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16). Who is condemned? The one who does not believe.

    Nowhere does it say, “He who believes and is not baptized will be condemned.”

    Nor does it say, “He who does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned.”

    What we do know from the text is that those who believe and are baptized and saved, and those who do not believe are not saved. And we know from the greater context of Scripture that faith is what is required for salvation.

    We address the question of true faith in this article:

    https://truthsaves.org/choice.shtml

    At no time have I suggested that a simple knowledge of Jesus Christ saves. I have stated that faith in Him saves; however, faith, as you say, is not a simple affirmation that Jesus exists.

    As James says, even the demons believe. But are they saved? Of course not. Why? Because they do not possess a faith that works. True belief requires action. Scripture makes that clear.

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’shall enter the the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'”
    Matthew 7:21-22 (NKJ)

    “Teacher, what is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”
    Matthew 22:36-38 (NKJ)

    “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it…”
    Luke 14

    True belief means a life change. Demons do not demonstrate that life change. They do not possess a Biblical faith. So I agree with your statement that belief must be followed by obedience to Christ.

    Your Acts 2:38 argument is clearly addressed in our article here:

    https://truthsaves.org/articles/baptism.shtml

    Again, I believe one must focus on Scripture as a whole before interpreting lone verses and forming theologies upon them.

  14. Acts 2:38 in Various Translations

    Please note that NONE of these translations use the words “because of the forgiveness of sins” as claimed by denominationalists such as Mr. E. and tim. Every single translation listed below (as well as the NIV) say essentially, “Repent and be baptized so your sins will be forgiven.”

    Dear Reader: Read what is on the Bible page. God is not the author of confusion (I Cor 14:33). Hebrews 6:17 says “it is impossible for God to lie,” so those who challenge the clear message of Acts 2:38 are rebelling against God.

    <>

    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Peter answered them, “Every one of you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Peter answered them, “All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act, and each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    And Peter’said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    And Peter said, Let your hearts be changed, every one of you, and have baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will have the Holy Spirit given to you.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    But Peter said to them: Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    And Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptised, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for remission of sins, and ye will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    “Repent,” replied Peter, “and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, with a view to the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    and Peter said unto them, ‘Reform, and be baptized each of you on the name of Jesus Christ, to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,
    ……………………………………………………………………..
    Acts 2:38

    http://biblecc.com/acts/2-38.htm

    Please note that NONE of these translations use the words “because of the forgiveness of sins” as claimed by denominationalists such as Mr. E. and tim. Every single translation listed above (as well as the NIV) say essentially, “Repent and be baptized so your sins will be forgiven.” You are NOT saved until you follow the steps I have listed above: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized and then lead a faithful life of service to God.

    Dear Reader: Read what is on the Bible page. God is not the author of confusion (I Cor 14:33). Hebrews 6:17 says “it is impossible for God to lie,” so those who challenge the clear message of Acts 2:38 are rebelling against God.

  15. There has been no more error taught in the supposed name of Christianity, than error concerning baptism. This is one subject that the Devil has worked to his own ends more than any other, for it is through baptism that a person is saved and added to the church of Christ. It has been said that “Baptism has become the Devil’s workshop” and that saying is well justified! This Web Site exists to refute these manmade errors and teach what the Bible teaches without addition or subtraction – just the plain truth!

  16. tim wrote: “Baptism is important as a Christian, not to become a Christian.”

    tim, you are teaching error, contradicting the plain teaching of the Bible. Not a single translation of Acts 2: 38 (as shown here http://biblecc.com/acts/2-38.htm ) says you are a Christian BEFORE being baptized.

    It is a grave matter to incorrectly teach the Word of God. May God help you in your study.

  17. Mr. E’s claim at the top of the page, just above the Responses, “belief in the Jesus of the Bible opens heaven’s doors for us; baptism doesn’t” is based solely on a tradition started by one man, Zwingli, in the 1500s! Contrary to Mr. E’s assertions, the Bible, God’s Word, in 1 Peter 3:21 says: “….. baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ……” By using the traditions of men you are rebelling against the Word of God.

    Note the following, Matthew 15:

    8 ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
    BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
    9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
    TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”

  18. Just because there are many people in Christendom who subscribe to this false concept of salvation, it is not THEIR opinion or MINE that counts.

    On Judgment Day we will be judged by how we measure up to the word of God. (John 12:48; Revelation 20:11-13).

    Now if Jesus is going to be the judge and his words are going to be the standard or rule by which we are judged, it becomes very important that we learn what his words are. In the great Sermon on the Mount he said, “Not everyone who saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name cast out devils and in thy name done more wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you. Depart from me you that work iniquity” Matthew 7:21-23. Those who do his will, will not receive this condemnation and punishment.

    And what is HIS WILL?

    Jesus said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” ! (Mark 16:16)

  19. Gentlemen

    I am a liar and adulterer. I am a leprous soul. I cling to the faith that I have in Jesus Christ, my Saviour, that I shall partake of God’s salvation one day when I go Home. I have an unshakeable belief in the justification I have in Jesus Christ; and flowing therefrom, I hope on a righteous relationship with God.

    However, I am not baptised by immersion. As a result of this, Tom judges me as unsaved and unsaveable. That makes me sad and contradicts my christian doctrine. My hope is in Christ; hoping that God accepts the price that Jesus paid for my soul.

    If I allow myself to be plunged into water and baptised, how will that assuage my lies and adultery, and cleanse my leprous soul? How does this outward symbolism make me any more acceptable to God than does Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross of Calvary?

    I do good works here, but only to show thankfulness for what our Lord and Master did for me. These do not gain heavenly entrance for me.

    So, my Brothers, How Now?

  20. Peter,

    I realise you may never come back to this website and read this, since you posted your question nearly a year ago. But I’ve just come across this post while doing some research for a paper I’m writing and saw your question.

    If you *are* a liar and adulterer, then clinging to the belief that one day you will partake of God’s salvation when you go home is not really faith at all, but sheer presumption. Sorry, I don’t know of any other way to say this, but a statement such as yours completely misses the amazing grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and ignores warnings such as Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 which if you are right in your testimony about yourself being “a liar and adulterer” then you should be trembling in your boots if you believe the Scriptures at all. Let me quote Paul:

    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Yet note what Paul goes on to say:

    “And such *were* some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    You see, being saved is not just “putting my trust in Christ’s righteousness so that when God judges the world he doesn’t see my sin but sees Jesus instead, so I can be let into heaven.” What a completely impotent gospel!!! Being “saved” is to be delivered from the power of sin, it is to have the old life “cut off” and be raised to a new life. A life where we are no longer “sinners” but saints of God!

    And so this brings me to your questions…

    “If I allow myself to be plunged into water and baptised, how will that assuage my lies and adultery, and cleanse my leprous soul? How does this outward symbolism make me any more acceptable to God than does Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross of Calvary?”

    No, baptism doesn’t assuage or minimise anything. But the very purpose of baptism is to connect us with Jesus’ death, that by baptism we might die with him (thus putting to death our lies and adultery and whatever other sin that has mastered us) in order that (i.e. for the purpose of) just as Christ rose from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life! This is what Paul testifies to in Romans 6. In Colossians 2 Paul clearly states that when we are baptised we experience the circumcision of Christ, in the cutting off of our sinful nature. So, baptism is far from being an “outward symbolism” and it has nothing to do with being “more acceptable to God than does Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross of Calvary.” Baptism’s purpose is not to balance out our sin with a supreme act of righteousness. NO! Baptism’s purpose is to unite us *with* Jesus’ death on the cross and his glorious resurrection so that we can live together with him!

    So, how now? Be baptised into Christ and be free!

  21. This was an enormous amount to read, but I was committed because some dear friends of mine believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. Thankfully, they are not as vitriolic as those represented here who share their beliefs.

    Still, it is startling to understand that they probably regard me as “unsaved.” Although I have been baptized by immersion as an adult, I did so out of a desire to be obedient and not to be saved–my salvation already being accomplished by accepting Jesus’ undeserved death on the cross as payment for my own sins.

    According to what I’ve read here, people who represent the Churches of Christ perspective would have me believe that my baptism was just a bath and my conversion to knowledge of and faith in Christ only puts me on par with demons.

    I will study salvation, and I will study baptism, and I will pray for understanding and wisdom that comes from God. I will also pray that those dear friends of mine do the same, and that we treat each other with respect and love while we search for Biblical truths.

    I invite you to pray with and for me on this journey. If it turns out that my perspective on baptism is correct, only God will be able to change the hearts of my friends who are well-rehearsed in their beliefs. If it turns out that my friends’ perspective on baptism is correct, then I guess for 25 years I have been serving a counterfeit god.

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  23. I believe that it is a waste of time for Baptists/evangelicals and Lutherans/orthodox Christians to discuss the Doctrine of Baptism without first agreeing on the “HOW” of salvation. Unless we come to agreement on how God saves sinners, our respective views on Baptism will never make sense to the other group, and our debate over Baptism will always end in a stalemate, as it has for the last 500 years.

    So how does God save sinners?

    Does God save sinners by this method?

    1. A sinner hears the Gospel and is convicted of his sin and his need for a Savior.
    2. The sinner makes a decision to believe, based on his intelligence and the maturity of his decision-making capabilities.
    3. The sinner asks Christ to save him and repents of his sins.

    Or does God save sinners by this method?

    1. God predestined, before the world existed, that you would be his child.
    2. Then, at some point in your life, at a time of his choosing, not yours, God quickens your spiritually dead soul by the power of his Word, gives you the free gift of faith, creating belief and repentance.

    Baptists and Lutherans/orthodox are in full agreement that it is by faith that we believe and repent in salvation. Our difference is HOW the sinner acquires faith. If faith is a gift from God, then salvation is truly free. If faith is produced by the sinner’s intelligence and mature decision-making capabilities then the sinner is providing assistance in his salvation.

    Does God need or allow the assistance/cooperation of the sinner to save him?

    Unless we can reach agreement on this crucial question, Baptists and Lutherans/orthodox will never agree on the Doctrine of Baptism.

    Gary

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

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