Do we need to be baptized to be saved?
The answer is easily answered by quoting Luke 23:40-43 “But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." NIV
The man on the cross next to Jesus never had the opportunity to be baptized, as he was dying on a cross, and he was saved.
But what about someone who has the opportunity to be baptized and doesn’t do it, will he be saved?
Again the Scriptures are clear: Eph 2:8-10 “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. NIV
My question, though, is why would we not want to be baptized if we accept Jesus in our life? Doesn’t Jesus urge to do so in Matt 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” NIV Would we want to do anything less than what Jesus instructed us to do?
Look at the beautiful story of when an Ethiopian eunuch was approached by Philip and the gospel message was presented to him. What was his first reaction after he accepted Jesus into his life?
Acts 8:36-38 “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” NIV
Nobody had to urge him to be baptized. And nowhere in the New Testament can we find one example of one person accepting Jesus and refusing to be baptized. That would be unheard of!
You see, through baptism you identify yourself with Christ’s death and resurrection. You publicly acknowledge that Jesus is now part of your life. Wouldn’t you want to identify yourself publicly with Jesus?
Col 2:12 “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” NIV
Rom 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” NIV
It is time my friend that you make a firm decision about Jesus and stop the hide and seek game. Invite Jesus into your life and profess Him publicly. He is your loving Savior who left His kingdom behind, just to save you. He is the one who was willing to die for you so that you would enjoy eternal life. Come to Him and accept Him publicly. Do the first step today and answer His call at http://www.answers2prayer.org/saviours_call.html. Tomorrow may be too late!
When we are
baptized, we reject Satan, all His works, and all His empty
promises because we believe in God the Father, and God the
Son, and God the Holy Spirit. By renewing and living our
Baptisms, we sense the Holy Spirit crying out in our hearts
“Abba” (“Father”) (see Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15; see also Luke
3:22). This frees us to imitate Jesus in freeing those “in
the grip of the devil” (Acts 10:38). Baptized into Jesus, we
are “a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to
open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from
confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in
darkness” (Is 42:6-7). As we live our Baptisms more freely
and fully, the Holy Spirit “establishes justice on the
earth” (see Is 42:4) and renews “the face of the earth” (Ps
104:30). We need to be baptized to be saved.
I have been asked this question many times. My response
is you should as an act of faith allow yourself to be
baptized. However, when you are saved, you are baptized by
the Holy Spirit. Is this a copout answer? No. Some people
are elderly and physically being baptized may not be
possible, the same with the infirmed. I think God, realizes
each situation and will allow the Holy Ghost to enter
I know that there are a variety of responses based on one's Religious Sect. Some fell that as soon as a person accepts Christ, they must immediately be baptized, or would not be able to enter Heaven. There are differences of opinion on exactly what constitutes baptism, sprinkling, infant baptism, immersion, or standing in water and having it poured over one's head.
I look to scripture and see that Jesus told the thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." Was Jesus lying? The thief certainly had no chance for a watery baptism, although the baptism of the Holy Spirit could be considered. But then the Holy Spirit did not arrive until after Jesus' ascent in to Heaven. There seems to be many questions, and answers. Scripture tells us that the only way to Heaven and Eternal life is through the salvation given through Jesus the Christ. I do not read that the lack of baptism bars one from the eternal life given by grace through Jesus.
Baptism is meant as an especial statement of one's testimony of rebirth, as Jesus told Nicodemous, "ye must be born again." We are not reborn by any type of water, but by the blood of Jesus. Public baptism is a statement of one's faith in the rebirth through Jesus. It is desirable certainly. When Jesus went to John to be baptized, His father God said, "This is my only son in whom I am well pleased."
One should certainly enter the baptismal waters at the first opportunity, but a death bed profession, if real, is as saving by grace as that of one young who will live many years. Baptism should not be rejected if it is available, doing so is akin to withdrawing one's profession of faith. But it is the profession of faith in Jesus, not the water, that has the saving power.
How do we define necessary? If baptism was not necessary
why would Christ command us to be baptized? I find it hard
to believe that a person could ignore a command by our Lord
to be baptized in his death and be called a Christian. Of
course being called a Christian and actually being a
Christian are not necessarily the same thing. So if you ask
me if Baptism is needed, I would answer WWJD.
Yes, we must be baptized to be saved, BUT not in water!
Being baptized in water is often spoken of as the believer's identification with the death and resurrection of Christ, notably Rom 6:3,4.
FFBruce noted this text as reflective of the early church's teaching and practice of water baptism. But being 'baptized into Christ' means more than simply going under water. It refers to one's being united with Christ in newness of life.
In fact, the Matthean expression (28:19)'baptizing them into...' pictures the act of baptism as an initiation into a life of discipleship with Jesus Christ as Lord. This is the meaning of the preposition 'into' in Hebrew/rabbinic usage in the context of pre-New Testament baptisms./washings.
Thus, putting it in the Matthean context Water Baptism introduces the baptizand into and consecrates him for a new life of discipleship. Understandably, the thief on the cross did not have that opportunity! But how about the rest of us?
Andy Basilio, Bakersfield, CA
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The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.