BAPTISM - Is it necessary for salvation?

According to some doctrines and churches, baptism is necessary for salvation. The Catholic Church holds it to be one of the "sacraments" required to gain entrance into Heaven, and baptizes babies to ensure that the sacrament is fulfilled.

But what do the Scriptures say about the issue?

Jesus, the founder and author of our faith, God Himself, said to His disciples;

MARK 16:15-16

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

If you read the text carefully you will see that if you believe and are baptized you will be saved, but if you don't believe you will be condemned.

He never said "If you are not baptized, you will be damned."

Baptism, like Communion is only a symbol, a physical representation of the spiritual reality of the action. Just as Israel's sacrifice of the Passover lamb was a symbol of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.

Baptism is an earthly reminder of our cleansing from our sins through Jesus, our being buried with Him in death and our resurrection as a new creature in His sight.

ROMANS 6:3-7

3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

It is also a public confession before men and God that we are followers of Jesus Christ, as per His commandment of;

MATTHEW 10:32-33

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Therefore infant baptism is useless, as babies cannot accept Jesus, neither can they confess Him before men. And infant baptism cannot take away "original sin" as some churches teach. Babies are sinless, as they have not learned the difference between good and evil, therefore sin cannot be imputed to them. And there is no such thing as "original sin" in the Scriptures.

Jesus Himself has a special love for children;

MARK 10:13-16

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them].

14 But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

16 And he took them up in his arms, put [his] hands upon them, and blessed them.

Note that in verse 14, Jesus was quite angry when the disciples rebuked those who brought children to be blessed by Him. And He said that those who do not receive the kingdom of God with the faith that children have, will not enter the Kingdom. He never rebuked children as sinners as He did with the adults.

BOTTOM LINE:

Baptism must be a willful act, a conscious decision made by the person being baptized. It is a symbol of our being buried with Jesus in His death, and raised again as a new creature in His sight, and a public sign of our confession of Him as Lord and Master.

Baptism is not necessary for salvation, but we must be baptized if we are able for He commanded us to be baptized. If we refuse to follow His commandments, we fall under condemnation;

I JOHN 2:4

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Granted, there will be situations where a person accepts Jesus on their deathbed, and cannot be baptized. The Lord understands this, and will accept them into His kingdom.

QUESTIONS:

I was baptized as a baby. Must I be baptized again?

Yes. You were not able to make the decision as to whether to be baptized or not, nor were you able to make a public confession of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The church I want to join says I must be baptized in their church, even though I have been baptized already. Must I be baptized again in this church?

No. You have already been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit by your own free will , and have made your public confession before witnesses. You do not need to be baptized again. In fact, I would avoid a church that teaches this doctrine as it has no Scriptural basis, and it sounds as if the church is playing a "numbers game", taking pride in the number of people they have as members of the congregation.

Questions? Comments? E-mail: watchmen_777@yahoo.com

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