It’s a subject people seem to really like to debate—baptism. Here are a few thoughts on why we believe that the act of baptism doesn’t save us.
Some organizations teach that the act of baptism is what brings about salvation. We disagree.
Some organizations (like the Church of Christ) teach that baptism saves. They teach that we are not saved by faith. We are saved by baptism. They take it one step further. Say for example that I’m a Christian and I believe that I’m saved by grace, through faith. I’ve followed Scripture’s example and I’ve been baptized. Am I saved? Not according to the Church of Christ. I’m still damned, because I don’t believe that baptism saves. So even though I’ve repented of my sins, believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and died to save me from sin and death and have been baptized, I’m still not saved. Why? Because I don’t believe that the act of baptism is what brought about my salvation.
The following article further explains our translation of the preposition Greek preposition “eis” and reiterates that we’re saved through faith in the Jesus of the Bible.
Some say baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation? Is it? Does Scripture support that position?
This seems to be the never-ending topic.
So many people see baptism as a necessary requirement for salvation. Others go so far as to say it’s the act that brings salvation. We’re on the other side of the spectrum.
We see Scripture, time and again, telling us that we need to believe to be saved. Faith is the requirement. True faith will bring about a heart change. Being saved isn’t about some external act; it’s about running to God, trusting in Him, believing in His holy Word, living in constant communion with Him and being guided daily by His Holy Spirit.
It’s about having a relationship with the Jesus of the Bible.
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.