Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

Doctrine of Baptisms
Water Baptism
Updated:2019-03-14

Did these People Teach that Water Baptism was Necessary for Salvation?


As the debate races on as to whether water baptism is necessary for salvation, many famous clergies have added their opinions and thoughts to the confusion.

However, regardless of how famous you are, your opinions don’t change the importance of it to salvation.

Therefore, to arrive at a biblical and correct answer, we must discover, whether Jesus Christ taught that water baptism is necessary for salvation or not. Similarly, did his twelve leaders teach on this topic?

What Did Jesus Teach About Baptism?


Therefore, if Jesus, his twelve leaders, and the Church taught and practiced that baptism was essential for salvation then; I’m afraid, it is.

According to Apostle Mark, Jesus’ last instructions to them include:
“[H]e said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).

Jesus Christ, just before he ascended up to heaven, he told his eleven leaders (Judas was dead) that it was absolutely necessary for salvation.

He instructed them to traverse the earth and to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven to “every creature”(Mark 16:15). Then he added, anyone who believes the gospel that you will preach and is “baptized” “shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).

On the other hand, anyone who doesn’t believe the gospel will refuse water baptism and such a one “shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

Water Baptism is for Believers

Note, in the Scriptures above that Jesus did not state that water baptism saves the person. But they stressed that such a one shall experience saving in the future, not now.

Water baptism is for Believers in Jesus Christ. Those who refuse and denounce the importance of it to salvation are unbelievers. I didn’t say that the Bible declares that to be true.

Observe the qualification of a “Believer”. One who believes the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven and experiences water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, (Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16).

Water Baptism
What Did Jesus Teach this Jewish Leader About Water Baptism?


Nicodemus was a Jewish leader. One night he visited Jesus with a burning desire to know the prerequisites for salvation.

Jesus told him: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Now to the “spiritually immature” entrance into the “kingdom of God” is different from salvation. However, to a “father” there is no difference between them.

Jesus told Nicodemus that “a man” any man or woman for that matter “cannot enter into the kingdom of God” “except” he is “born of water” (water baptism) and born “of the Spirit” (Spirit baptism).

A King’s Word is Powerful in his Kingdom

Nevertheless, simply put, a kingdom is any place where a king reigns and his words have power. The “kingdom of God” is the kingdom which belongs to God.

This description identifies and differentiates His domain from all others. It belongs to the Lord God. And His words are very powerful in it. You only need to speak His words in His name: Jesus, to exercise His power.

Jesus taught this Jewish leader that anyone wishing to enter into the domain that belongs to the Lord must be baptized by immersion in water.

Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

The Importance of Water Baptism to Salvation


Moments later, Jesus reiterated the importance of it to salvation. He told Nicodemus: “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

The relevance of this to the Jewish people is, they were expecting the Anointed One (The Messiah) to come and physically rule over the kingdom of David, his father. He would sit on his throne.

But the Kingdom of God, is not that kingdom.

After Jesus emphasized the importance of water baptism to salvation to this Ruler of Israel, he asked a simple but profound question.

He inquired; “How can these things be?” (John 3:9).

Leaders Should Learn the Importance of Water Baptism to Salvation

Next, Jesus responded to him. His answer revealed Nicodemus’ predicament and that of many of our clergies today. Recall that Jesus was addressing a “leader” or a “master of Israel”.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” (John 3:10).

Nicodemus didn’t know that such things are in the Scriptures and many of our current pastors are similarly ignorant of the immense importance of baptism to salvation.

Jesus 12 Leaders on Water Baptism & Salvation


“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 2:38).

Apostle Peter, the chief apostle, taught four things concerning water baptism in the Scripture immediately above:  get baptize; how to baptize; the reason for baptism and the consequence for baptism.

Here, did Peter teach explicitly that water baptism is necessary for salvation? No! He didn’t. However, any mature Bible-Student knows never to utilize one scripture to establish any doctrine or principle. We need a least two Scriptures to do so.

Subsequently, by combining Jesus’ teachings to Nicodemus and Apostle Peter’s sermon to the people in Jerusalem at Pentecost, we observe the following.

The former explained what you needed to enter the Kingdom of God and the latter explained how to achieve it.

Jesus Teaches Water Baptism Necessary for Entry

Jesus told Nicodemus and us that you must be baptized in water and of the Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God.

Peter then explained how to be born of water, why and the end result. They were teaching the same thing from a different perspective.

Therefore, Apostle Peter did, in fact, explain that water baptism, is a prerequisite for being born of the Spirit, and that both constitute being born again.

Therefore, there is no born-again without water baptism and that makes it absolutely essential to salvation.

Is Water Baptism Necessary for Salvation?

Was Water Baptism Necessary for the Salvation of this Italian Family?


Finally, while Apostle Peter was preaching to Cornelius and his household and his friends they all experienced being born of the Spirit.

“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God….” (Acts 10:44-46).

Baptism wasn’t an Option for Them

However, if water baptism wasn’t necessary for their salvation, why after they were born of the Spirit then Apostle Peter instructed them to be baptized and how?

Then Peter asked: “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days” (Acts 10:47-48).

CONCLUSION

We have observed from the teachings of Jesus Christ that he indeed taught that water baptism is essential for salvation.

First he taught that water baptism does not save us now but it does in the future. We experience water baptism to receive salvation.

Then, to use his words he said “ye must” be baptized in water to be saved.

Similarly, his early leaders of the church also taught that water baptism is indeed necessary for salvation. Peter explained the role of baptism in salvation: for the remission of sins.

There is no doubt about its importance in our salvation.

The Bible is never wrong. Anyone who believes the Gospel of the Kingdom of God should experience baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

By water baptism, you take on the name of your Saviour and the name of Him whom you believe in.

Another Important Function of Baptism

Unbelievers denounce its importance. They refuse water baptism because they cannot see its importance to salvation. But how could they?

They must be born again to perceive the “Kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Many who write about this subject, even some of the famous ones, are unbelievers for their very words reveal them. Again, the Bible is never wrong because by their fruits we shall know them.

However, let’s teach what the Bible teaches. Our opinions are worthless if they are not running parallel to what the Scriptures teach.

We don’t need a perspective on the importance of water baptism to salvation. We only need to teach what the Scriptures teach.


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