Is baptism necessary for salvation?
It is a visible sign that becomes your first act of witness. In baptism, you telling the world what God has done for you.
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Romans 6:3-7 says, “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, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”
The meaning of baptism
Baptism symbolizes a death, burial and resurrection, which is why the early church baptized by immersion. The word “baptizo” means to immerse. It symbolized the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and it shows the death of the old sinner in the one being baptized.
Jesus’ teaching on baptism
We also know that baptism is a righteous thing to do. Jesus got baptized even though He was sinless. Matthew 3:13-15 says, “...John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.”
Jesus even commanded Christians to go and baptize everyone. “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).
Jesus adds this about baptism in Mark 16:15-16, “...Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
Are we saved by baptism?
You will notice that the Bible ties baptism to salvation. However, it isn’t the act of baptism that saves you. Ephesians 2:8-9 is clear that our works don’t contribute to our salvation. We can’t earn salvation, even by being baptized.
However, you must ask yourself. If Jesus asks you to do something and you refuse to do it, what does that mean? It means you are willfully disobedient. Is a willfully disobedient person repentant? Absolutely not!
Baptism is not what saves you, Jesus does! But refusing baptism says something powerful about the state of your relationship with Jesus.
Keep in mind, if you are unable to get baptized, like the thief on the cross, God understands your circumstances. However, if you are able to be baptized and won’t or choose not to, that action is willful sin which disqualifies you from salvation.