Having noted the importance of hearing God’s
word, believing it, repentance and confessing Jesus as the Son of God, we
now move to the final step in God’s plan of salvation. This is baptism.
We will discuss the importance of baptism.
In answering the question, "What must I do to be
saved?", several in the Bible included baptism in their teaching.
Jesus taught it to Nicodemus in John 3:3-5 where He said,
"...unless one is born of water (baptism) and the Spirit, he cannot
enter the kingdom of God." As He was about to ascend to heaven,
he urged His apostles to go and preach the gospel saying, "He who
believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will
be damned." (Mark 16:16). In Matthew’s account of this event,
we note that Jesus told them to go and make disciples of all nations, "...baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things ..." (Matthew 28:18-20).
Example after example of conversion in the book of Acts
includes the act of baptism. On Pentecost, Peter told the crowd, "...Repent,
and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus, for the
remission of sin;..." (Ac. 2:38). Of Cornelius and his household,
Peter "...commanded them to be baptized in the name of the
Lord." (Ac. 10:48). On the banks of a river in Philippi, after
being taught by Paul, we are told of Lydia, "...and when she and her
household were baptized..." (Ac. 16:15). The jailer in that same city
we are told after asking Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to
be saved?", was told, "...Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
you will be saved, you and your household..." Continuing to read
we next find that they spoke the word of the Lord to him, and then we find
that the same hour of the night, "...immediately he and all his
family were baptized." (Ac. 16:30-33). Paul himself was told by
Ananias, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and
wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Ac.
22:16). In each of these instances, baptism was mentioned BEFORE
salvation, rejoicing, forgiveness of sins, etc. indicating that baptism
was the final step that produced these results.
The necessity of baptism is also taught in the epistles of
the New Testament. Paul wrote of baptism in Romans 6:3-7, "Or do
you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were
baptized into His death...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 to sin." In 1 Corinthians 12:13, we read, "For
by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" The body
referred to here is the church which he proceeds to explain needs to be
unified. To the Galatians he wrote, "For as many of you as were
baptized into Christ have put on Christ..." (Gal. 3:27). Peter
taught of its importance in 1 Peter 3:20-21 where he said, "There
is also an antitype (referring to Noah and his family being saved
through water) which now saves us --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."
In all of these passages, and several others, we can see
the importance of baptism. Yet the importance of this act is diminished by
so many in the religious world as not being necessary. In our next article
we will further examine its importance and note some of the arguments made
more about baptism click here
answers to arguments against baptism for salvation, click here.