Adapted from Robert Harkrider writings.
Why is baptism essential to salvation?
Baptism is essential to salvation because the blood of Jesus Christ is essential to salvation. Look at the following scripture.
Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”
Hebrews 9:22 “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission”
Baptism is God's only appointed way for alien sinners to be united with Christ in His death and cleansed by His blood. The Bible teaches the necessity of baptism through many plain statements that show the purpose and effect of baptism.
1. Baptised into the death of Christ.
Romans 6:3-4 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into His death? 4Therefore 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”
The atoning blood of Christ was shed in His death, and we are viewed as dying for our sins through Christ as our sin representative (Vs. 5.) Baptism is the only act the Bible describes as the means by which one enters “into the death of Christ” and where we are crucified with Christ.
2. Baptised for remission of sins.
Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”
3. Baptised to wash away sins.
Acts 22:16 ‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptised, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
After seeing Jesus on the road to Damascus Paul had believed Christ, obeyed his command, prayed and fasted for three days, yet was still in his sins and received the above instruction. The power to wash away sins is not in the water itself (as 1 Peter 3:21 explains): However, in obedience to God's command, baptism is necessary, for it is the action in which sins are washed away by faith in the blood of Christ.
4. Baptism also now saves us.
1 Peter 3:21 “There is also an anti-type which now saves usbaptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”
5. Baptised into Christ.
Galatians 3:26-27 “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ”
No one was called a Christian before baptism, even though they believed. (Acts 26:27-29). The Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8) and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16) did not rejoice until after they were baptised. Baptism is the step that culminates our entrance into Christ, into His body. (1 Cor. 12:13).
Baptism is the point when we are saved by faith as this passage so plainly and clearly shows.1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” This is far from an exhaustive study of baptism, but these few passages should convince the sincere seeker of truth that baptism stands between a sinner and salvation in Christ. As Jesus Himself said, Mark 16:16
“He who believes and is baptised shall be saved; but he who does not believe shall be condemned”
Presented by the Cape Rd Church of Christ.