Is Water Baptism A ‘REQUIREMENT’ of Salvation?

Baptism is not a REQUIREMENT OF SALVATION through Christ Jesus. There are pulpits that teach that WATER baptism is required for salvation. Although Water Baptism is something for a Christian to do, it is something done AFTER a person has become a believer in Christ as an OUTWARD expression of becoming saved by BELIEF ALONE in Jesus, the Christ, God in the flesh and the only atonement for sin that He provided on that cross 2000 years ago.

Let’s go through some of the Scriptures people use in stating that Water Baptism is required and see the truth.

++ John 3:18, Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 2:8-9

SALVATION IS BY BELIEF ON CHRIST ALONE

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV)

This passage of Scripture by Apostle Paul is a foundational truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and agrees with Jesus’ own words in John 3 where He defines whether a person is saved or condemned based on their belief or disbelief on Christ Jesus:

“He that BELIEVETH ON HIM is not condemned: but he that BELIEVETH NOT is condemned ALREADY, because he hath NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18 KJV)

Ephesians 1:13-14 shows us that a person is SAVED from the very moment of BELIEF. Water Baptism is not required. Baptism of the SPIRIT is required. And we receive this newly created Spirit by BELIEF on Christ alone for Salvation and justification with God. Apostle Paul goes on to state that Salvation is not of ourselves nor by being a good person nor by any religious ritual.

“For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

++ Acts 2:36-38

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, WHAT SHALL WE DO? Then Peter said unto them, 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 2:36-38 KJV)

The Jewish people were just told by Peter that the crucified the actual foretold Messiah and savior of the world. In reply, realizing it as truth they asked WHAT SHALL WE DO? Some are taking this question and making it ‘What shall we do to be saved?’, but that is NOT what the text shows. An important distinction to observe. If a person sees this question as ‘what must we do to be saved?”, then they read into the text that water baptism is REQUIRED for Salvation but that cannot be the case because if you read further in Acts 8, it shows the Holy Spirit coming with laying on of hands BEFORE water baptism (Acts:17). And we also read this in Acts 8,

“But WHEN THEY BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12 KJV)

They first believed and then were water baptized. Yet, it says no where in this passage that the WATER baptism was a requirement of Salvation.

++ Acts 16:30-31

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-31 KJV)

How much clearer can it be than this? Salvation is by BELIEF on Christ alone for Salvation.

++ 1 Corinthians 1:17

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” (1 Corinthians 1:17 KJV)

This is Apostle Paul who stated this! If Water baptism is a requirement of Salvation, wouldn’t we see Paul stating so? Instead, we see Paul stating the opposite.

++ 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, UNLESS YE HAVE BELIEVED IN VAIN. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV)

Salvation is by BELIEF on CHRIST, His atonement for our sins, His death and His rising from the dead. No water baptism is stated here by Apostle Paul.

++ 1 Peter 3:21

“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:” ( 1 Peter 3:21 KJV)

This verse is used to support the idea that water baptism is a requirement for Salvation. Yet, what is the text in parentheses all about in this verse? Look at the words closely. It starts with ‘The LIKE FIGURE…’ and in parentheses ‘NOT the putting away of the filth of the flesh’. This is our SINS. Water baptism is NOT putting away our sins. What is then? Read on in parentheses and it reads next, ‘a good conscience toward God’, and how do we get that? Read on, ‘BY THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.’

This is all about believing on Christ alone for Salvation. It is all about the Baptism of the Spirit that happens to a person from the very moment of belief as Apostle Paul taught in Ephesians 1:13-14 (see above).

++ Romans 1:16

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one THAT BELIEVETH; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 KJV)

Again Apostle Paul stating clearly that Salvation is by Belief on Christ.

++ 1 Timothy 2:5

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1 Timothy 2:5 KJV)

This is a powerful verse. Jesus paid it all and we are not saved by ANYTHING we DO, including water baptism. You must realize that not only can no other person saves us but that we cannot save ourselves neither! Belief on Jesus Christ crucified for atonement of our sins is what saves us. HE is the ONLY mediator between us humans and God the Father.

We cannot even be our own mediators!

Trying to be our own mediators is the same as following the Law to save us and following the Law of Moses saves no one. Do not misunderstand that statement. Yes, the Law of Moses (including the Ten Commandments) is Holy and true. The point is that following the Ten Commandments in our own self righteousness will never MAKE US HOLY. We are only made the righteousness of God, IN CHRIST(2 Corinthians 5:21).

Is Being Water Baptized Wrong or Unscriptural?

Water baptism is Scriptural. Stating that it is a requirement for justification with God is not. I am not saying that believers should not be water baptized. Being water baptized is an outward expression of what happened when we became saved by BELIEF ALONE in Christ crucified for the sins of the whole world.

It is also a statement, announcement and celebration of a BIRTH. A BIRTH OF THE SPIRIT in us. Our newly created spirit of God, that we BECAME from the very moment of belief on Christ. By BELIEF on Christ we were changed from being UNRIGHTEOUS (and already condemned in our sins headed for hell) to being the very RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, in Christ. (John 3:15-18, 2 Corinthians 5:21). A believer is SEALED by the Holy Spirit for all eternity from the very moment of BELIEF.

Water Baptism is not a REQUIREMENT of Salvation. BELIEF ON CHRIST and the only atonement for our sins through Jesus crucified is the only requirement.

Does That Mean What We Do, And How We Live After Salvation Does Not Matter?

Of course not. We are to do good works after we are saved. We are to help others and love others as Christ loved us. It is okay to perform a religious act that lines up with the fact that Salvation is not by works but by belief and faith in Christ’s once for all sacrifice for our sins (Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 10:10).

Good works are, well, good right? Being a good person in love for others is good right? Celebrating Christ in a religious act is also good. However, we should never make these things we DO as a requirement of our Salvation. We do them in great gratitude of experiencing God’s love for us. We do them as Christ who lives within us does good works through us.


RELATED ARTICLES: