Posted by Mark Lindley on 4 April 2018 | Comments

Water baptism is a controversial topic that has been hotly debated over the years. Part of the controversy stems from the question, Is baptism necessary for salvation? While there are some who say that baptism is necessary, others maintain that baptism is not something that one must do to be saved.

            To determine the truth about this issue, rather than getting angry and arguing, it would be far better to calmly open the Bible and simply read all that the Bible says about baptism. If one were putting a puzzle together, finding where one piece fits would help. However, until all the pieces are examined and placed, one cannot complete the puzzle. The same is true about looking at all verses pertaining to salvation and baptism.

            When one looks at all the verses in which salvation and baptism are mentioned, one will find that salvation always comes “after” baptism, and not before it. Consider the following: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). Notice that the “he” who shall be “saved” is the he who believes “and” is baptized. “Saved” comes after “baptized,” not before it.

            Peter stated to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, “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” (Acts 2:38). Please notice the order of this verse. First, Peter commanded the people to repent; second, he commanded them to be baptized; and, third, he promised the remission (forgiveness) of sins. Forgiveness of sins comes “after” baptism, not before it.

            Consider also what Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus: “And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Question: when would Saul’s sins be washed away? The clear answer is that his sins would be washed away when he arose and was baptized. Salvation always comes after baptism, not before it.

            Notice also First Peter chapter 3, verse 21: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Please observe that baptism precedes salvation in this text. Peter affirmed that baptism “saves” us. Since baptism saves us, how could one be ‘saved” without that which saves—baptism?

            The Biblical evidence is clear and certain. Baptism is a necessary part of God’s plan of salvation. Those who believe in Christ, repent of sins, confess their faith, and are baptized, will be saved from all past sins!


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