rebelling against low expectations

What is the role of baptism in the Christian life?

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JEFFREY WRITES: How does baptism relate to being a good Christian? Is it a necessary event in being a good Christian or is it just a public proclamation?


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  • This is an excellent question, Jeffrey!

    Baptism is done in one of two ways: By sprinkling (where someone takes water and sprinkling/pouring it over your head) or by immersion (by dunking you completely in a pool of water.

    Baptism is a proclamation that says “I am a Christian and I am not ashamed of it.” So naturally it should come after salvation.

    Baptism by immersion symbolizes the death (going underwater) and resurrection (coming out of the water) of Christ.

    So, to me, Baptism by immersion after salvation is the way to go.

    With that being said, Baptism is not required for salvation (that is, being saved from our sins and eternity in the Lake of Fire). If it were, then our faith would be works based, and the Bible makes it clear:

    “You are saved by grace, through faith, and this is not of yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

    So, to sum everything up, Baptism is a command from God (Matthew 28:19), but is not necessary for Salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) and since it is a proclamation of your faith in Jesus, it would make sense for it to be after salvation.

    I hope this was helpful; God bless you and have an awesome day!
    – Trent

    • Trent, do you have any idea where in the Bible people support the idea of sprinkling? In Matthew 3 it says “Jesus came up out of the water” so that kind of defeats that idea in my opinion….

        • From what I understand of infant baptism, it started when government required that people disclosed what kind of religious order they belonged to, in the 2nd & 3rd Centuries. I think it was a form of “Membership” done by the parents, for their children, to show they were in the “Christian religion”. It was created as part of the “civil code” of the day.
          “Immersion after Salvation” Baptism for a believer … Acts 2 says, “Repent and be baptized.”…has been answered well by many here(I’m borrowing phrases;) as
          #1 to follow Jesus’ example,
          #2 to obey Jesus’ command to be baptized and
          #3 to tell others that Jesus comes first in our lives.

          It symbolizes death to yourself and your sins, and resurrection of life in Jesus.
          And is wonderful to share your testimony and encourage other believers to pray for you as you walk out your faith.

          My understaning of God’s Word is that “Immersion after Salvation” Baptism for a believer as a “necessary event” is… For salvation? No
          ….To obey God’s Word? Yes 🙂
          Saved by GRACE and walking in OBEDIENCE to Christ 🙂

      • I think that all the examples in the Bible were probably baptism by immersion. But I don’t think it matters all that much if you are baptized by sprinkling if you are doing it for the right reasons; namely, obedience to Jesus’ command and making a public declaration of your faith. I hate it when churches get divided over issues like how to baptize—it’s actually a very small issue, but it ends up causing huge problems in the church.

      • I agree. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it mentions sprinkling. I only included it since it came under the definition of the word “Baptism”. That is why I believe “immersion after Salvation” is the way to go and also what is commanded in the Bible. 🙂

        • Sometimes people baptise by sprinkling because that’s the only option. There are some places in Africa and the far east that baptise that way because they have very little water to spare but other than exceptional circumstances like that, I agree that a sound dunking is biblical 🙂

          • When my siblings would push someone into the water, we called it dunking each other, so y’all calling immersion baptism “dunking” is kinda funny 🙂 It really fits, though.

          • Aye, that’s where dunking comes from. We just say that sometimes because it gives non-Christians an idea of what this baptism thing is.

      • My family started attending a Presbyterian church a year and a half ago, and they do infant baptism, which is sprinkling. I have not heard any argument for sprinkling even after we started attending, but our pastor willingly talked to my dad about why they do infant baptism. It was really cool to hear their argument, although I still believe in adult baptism.

        Basically, they view baptism as the circumcision of the new covenant. Just like Israelite babies were circumcised, so Christian babies should be baptized. Interestingly enough, if there is no evidence of faith in the parents, my pastor will not baptize the baby.

        I think in a way, the people who do infant baptism have a point. Baptism, I think, is the new covenant’s version of circumcision, and just as babies were circumcised in the old covenant to show they were part of God’s people, so spiritual babies should be baptized to signify that they, like the Israelite babies, are part of God’s people. This, I believe, is where being born again comes in. To signify that a person is born again, they must be baptized. They are still babies, like with circumcision, but spiritually instead of physically.

        So, I guess that’s not a biblical argument for adult sprinkling, but it is for infant baptism, which usually is sprinkling. Probably the reason they do sprinkling for infants is because it would be dangerous to submerse them. Don’t know for sure.

      • I don’t see that anyone answered, so I will 😉
        I think some people probably came up with the idea out of necessity – if you’re in the desert, for example, and want to be baptized, you wouldn’t easily find a large body of water to be baptized in.
        That said, I like immersion baptism better 🙂

    • Hey Trent i like how you brought in the two forms of baptism (the sprinkling and the dunking). And you made a very good point by telling us what the dunking symbolizes i didn’t know that and that’s cool!! 😀 good comment Trent!
      God Bless,
      ~Madeleine

    • Thanks Trent,
      I must say that within the past few weeks I have been asking myself that question and, in accordance with reading the Bible (a lot), I came to the same conclusion. I’ve been talking with my youth pastor and recently I got baptized, by immersion. In my readings I came to the realization that God had been pushing me to get baptized for a long time, I just didn’t have the courage to do it or the knowledge of what I was doing. So that’s why I talked with my youth pastor. Eventually the time came for me to stand up in front of my Church’s congregation in a black robe and let my pastor dunk me in 45 degree water. It was an amazing experience and God was the most present in my life he had been, it felt, since sanctification. I shared my favorite Bible verse, 2 Timothy 4:2, with the quiet congregation.

      When I asked this question, I had been wondering what God had in store for me and if I truly had committed myself to him. But now, I know; I will never doubt God’s grace and his outstanding love for me ever again. I know now that I love him back, and, even though I am and always will be a filthy sinner, I am saved by his grace and his mercy, and saved from death which Jesus took, in my place, on the cross.
      “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season. Reprove, Rebuke, and Exhort with complete patience and teaching.”
      2 Timothy 4:2

  • Jeffrey,

    In short, baptism is a public confession of faith in Jesus Christ. It is NOT required for salvation – I haven’t been baptized, nor have two of my pastor’s kids (but we do want to soon). It is not a necessary event per se, but it is a very important proclamation to make – Jesus was baptized, and (like @trent_blake:disqus said) in the great commission we are commanded to baptize others.

    Hope this helps!

    • On the other side, you could be baptized and not be a Christian. Our family is a part of the Presbyterian church which practices infant baptism, so you have people like my uncle who have been baptized but proclaim to be agnostics. (Just to clarify, I do not believe in infant baptism, I believe that you should be baptized after a confession of faith in Christ and not as a baby.)

      • Yup. I go to a church where we practice infant baptism and it can be really sad to see people who have been baptized but their faith only applies on Sunday mornings (and sometimes not even then)

      • My dad’s family were NOT Christians, but they did go to church as kind of a social event thing. My dad and his siblings were baptized as infants, and then grew up unbelievers. Fortunately, my dad and his sister are now Christians, but his brother still isn’t. My dad really regrets his parent’s decision.

      • I too grew up in a church that practiced infant baptism. All my brothers and I were baptized as infants. But when my brother believed in Christ as his savior, he was baptized. After 4 years of being a Christian I was baptized last summer. It seems as if infant baptism is more of a dedication into the Church. But that’s just me.

      • Yeah, I have a close friend who left the Presbyterian church and she said that one of the main reasons her family left was because of infant baptism. Personally I think that there’s nothing in the Bible to support it, and that baptism shouldn’t be done until you’re at least a teen.

  • As the people before have said, baptism is a public confession of faith in God. It’s not absolutely necessary for salvation, but a *very, very* good idea for believers. My church believes in infant baptism, but my family (and a couple of other families) decided to only baptize older children who have accepted Jesus and have a good understanding of the faith. Sprinkling and immersion are both “legal” forms of baptism. I was immersed and really enjoyed it, but many people at my church are sprinkled.

  • Baptism is a public proclamation of your faith in Jesus Christ. It’s symbolized as death to yourself and your sins, and ressurection of life in Jesus. As Ruthie mentioned, it’s not necessary for salvation, but it’s a good idea for believers.

  • Baptism is different in different churches. In Baptist churches, we do full immersion baptism (symbolizing dying to the old self and being raised with Christ) for three reasons: to follow Jesus example, to obey Jesus command to be baptized and to tell others that Jesus comes first in our lives.
    I was baptized two years ago. It was wonderful to share my testimony and show people that I was serious about my faith–I just wanted everyone to know. In some baptist churches, you need to be baptized to become a member. However, I think everyone realizes that it’s not a requirement of being a Christian. An older relative of mine was not baptized until he was in his 30s, even though he already had a relationship with God. He waited because he wanted to be sure that it was his own decision and not a result of others pressuring him into it.

  • First of all, I’d like to say that I really appreciate this site. It’s encouraging to know there are others out there doing hard things.
    I’m also commenting here because I’d like to warn you. There are many views on baptism and people will start fighting for their view. Frankly, that’s not at all a Christ-like way to go about this. Please, if you comment here, read up about all the views and sides to others’ arguments because people get offended. In other words, be gentle and try to understand where others that you disagree with come from. Love with abandon, even if you disagree. The tongue is a fire, but your keyboard can also be quite a blaze. 🙂

  • I guess I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “necessary event”. For salvation? Absolutely not! To obey God’s Word? Yes!

    In Matt. 28, baptism is included as a part of the great commission, meaning it is indeed a command of Scripture. If we are called to baptize others as a part of world evangelism, I don’t see how that would make sense unless we ourselves were baptized.

    Philip baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 after checking to make sure he understood that salvation was supposed to come first. So, my personal opinion of what the Bible teaches is that it is baptism after salvation, by immersion.

    In direct answer to your question, I can’t answer whether or not it’s necessary for a “good Christian”. It’s a command of Scripture that is there like any other command, to love your neighbor or honor your parents. What God leads you to do or work on in your own life is your call, and something I can’t tell you!

    I’m not sure if I have many texts commanding baptism, but it seems to be seen throughout the New Testament as an accepted requirement, to the point that it is assumed that all believers were baptized (Rom. 6:3, 1 Cor. 12:13). Peter does appear to say it as a command to the crowds at Pentecost (Acts 2:38).

    Baptism is pretty laid back in America. If you do the research though, it probably meant to the early church what it means to the Muslims today. That is the point at which you finally identify outwardly with Christ. It’s a sign that would have cost you your life under Nero and could cost you your life today in Sudan or Iran. In much of the persecuted church, baptism is treated as the final step of you acknowledging yourself with Christ. It’s really the step of no return in Islamic countries today.

  • I feel like Baptism is a proclamation AND necessary for being a Christian. A Baptism is you being reborn into a new life. People need to see that you’ve been reborn and you need to feel it as well.

  • I struggled with this question a lot last summer and here’s
    what I came up with: Baptism is an act of obedience (Mark 16:16) and an outward
    proclamation of my Faith (Romans 6:4).

    Baptism is not NESSASARY for salvation but it is an act of obedience.
    In the Great Commission Jesus said “Go out into all the world and make disciples
    baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew
    28) However it’s not necessary to go to heaven. When Jesus was being crucified a
    criminal on another cross believed in Him, and Jesus said to him, “Today you
    will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43) In Acts there are many examples of
    people hearing the Gospel, believing, and being baptized.

    Baptism is an outward proclamation of one’s faith. In Romans
    6:4 it says “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in
    order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the
    Father, we too may live a new life.” When someone is baptized they are
    proclaiming to the world that they believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

    I didn’t realize how significant baptism is until last
    summer. I became a Christian almost five years ago yet I wasn’t baptized until
    last August. Events happened last summer that made me feel led to be baptized. So
    in August I was baptized by my pastor at our church picnic. In that half second
    I was just under the surface of the water I had this special feeling and
    thought, “This is it. I am proclaiming to the world that I truly believe in
    Jesus as my Lord and Savior.” Ever since then my faith has been so much more
    real for me. In that special moment I felt the Holy Spirit with in me.

    Sorry I didn’t realize how long this post was. It’s just
    what I’ve learned over the past couple years. I hope it helps!

  • Hey Jeffrey good question 😀 i take a theology class at my church and my youth pastor leads it, we talked about this same thing a couple weeks ago. He said that it’s not necessary to your salvation, it doesn’t’ save you. You still have to except Christ into your life, like @colettesweers:disqus said it is an act of obedience towards God. It’s like the icing on the cake but it’s not what makes the cake a cake. for instance you can be a Christian and go to heaven without getting baptized, but Baptizim is a sign of the covenant it’s a sign that you are a believer. it’s an act of reverence towards God. It sets you apart.

    If your deciding whether or not to get baptized i highly encourage you to!! It’s one of the two sacraments (the other being communion) and it’s just an act of reverence and a proclamation of faith in Christ Jesus. But it does not save you or anything like that.

    I hope this helps Jeffrey 😀 and if i got any of my facts wrong guys then please tell me 🙂

    God Bless,
    ~Madeleine

  • I don’t believe that baptism=salvation, or that baptism is what makes you a good Christian. Baptism is a proclamation of faith in Jesus; a physical sign that you’ve accepted Him into your heart and you are a new being because of it.
    Everyone understands what baptism means at different times. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was nine and got baptized when I was ten. I’m not sure that I fully understood what baptism meant when I was baptized, because I’m just now coming to understand it. I’ve seen a lot of people in my church get baptized- adults that have been Christians for many years but just didn’t understand baptism’s significance.
    So if you havent been baptized yet, don’t rush to the nearest pool because you feel like that’s what makes you a good Christian. It’s not. Baptism is a physical example of being born again.

    • What do you think about these Scriptures that say baptism+salvation:

      1 Peter 3:21 (ESV) “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

      Mark 16:16 (ESV) “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

      Also, where does it say in the Bible to “accept Jesus into your heart”? Sure, the Bible talks about beleving and confessing Jesus as Lord, but I wonder where some get the Idea of “accepting him” or saying a “Sinner’s Prayer.” Mark 16:16 and also Acts 2:38 suggest that this idea of “accepting” or confessing your belief in Jesus is the exact same as baptism.

      • On 1 Peter 3:21 :
        I pulled out my trusty ESV study Bible and looked this verse up. Let me share with you what the notes say.
        “A comparison is drawn between salvation in the ark and baptism. In both instances, believers are saved through the waters of judgement, since baptism portrays salvation through judgement. The mere mechanical act of baptism does not save, for Peter explicitly says, “not as a removal of dirt from the body”, meaning that the passing of water over the body does not cleanse anyone. Baptism saves you because it represents inward faith, as evidenced by one’s appeal to God for the forgiveness of one’s sins (for good conscience). Furthermore, baptism “saves” only insofar as it is grounded in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a visual representation of the fact that Christians are clothed with Christ (cf. Gal 3:27), and in union with Christ they share his victory over sin. Though Christians have disagreed about the proper mode of water baptism beginning in the early history of the church, Christians have generally agreed (irrespective of denominational differences) that water baptism is an outward sign of the inward reality of regeneration, which is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 3:5, 8; Titus 3:5), and which may be received only by grace through faith (see Eph. 2:8).”
        Enough said, right?
        And in response to your question:
        I suppose “accept Jesus into your heart” is an elementary term. What I really mean by that is that we are “accepting” Jesus to work in our heart when we ask Him to be our Lord and Savior. Also 2 Timothy 1:14 says “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you”. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (or “the Holy Trinity”) are all one. Thus Jesus is dwelling in us
        For Acts 2:38: (Time to pull our my handy ESV study bible again)
        “This does not imply that people can be saved without having faith in Christ as Savior, because the need to believe is implied both in the command to “repent” and also in the command to “be baptized… in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.” The willingness to submit to baptism is an outward expression of inward faith in Christ (cf. 1Peter 3:21). The gospel can be summarized in different ways. Sometimes faith alone is named as the one thing necessary for salvation (see John 3:16, Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9), other times repentance alone is named (see Luke 24:47, Acts 3:19, 5:31, 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10), and sometimes both are named (Atcs 20:21). Genuine faith always involves repentance, and vice versa. The gift of the Holy Spirit does not mean some specific spiritual “gift” as in 1 Corinthians 12-14 but rather the gift of the Spirit himself, coming to dwell within the believer.”
        Sorry for such a long reply. Any more points/questions?

        • You’ve got some really good points there! It really clears some things up for me, too. I was actually thinking about asking my pastor (who happens to be my grandpa:) for his thoughts on this question. He might also have some things that he could clarify.

          • He said he would write me an email with his answer soon, so I’ll be sure to tell you and anyone else who wants to know a pastor’s point of view on the subject:)

          • His answer was actually very similar to what you said in your other comment. He mostly responded to the 1 Peter passage, but said he would give me more if I wanted it. He wrote this, “Here it is clear that Peter is telling the people that baptism does not remove the dirt from the body, which could be understood as simply washing the body if you follow the translation that you have used [NIV]. However, in the Greek text the word is ‘flesh’ not ‘body’. ‘Flesh’ is used in the Bible to sometimes refer to the human body but also used many times to refer to a person’s inner nature that is bent on sin. So then the idea would be that baptism does nothing to removed the dirt of sin from a person’s inner life. Rather, baptism ‘saves’ a person from a guilty conscience.” I hope that makes sense. He also said to check out 1 Cor. 1:14-17 which I will quote. “I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” Pretty clear, huh?

  • I believe baptism and salvation go hand-in-hand. Baptism by itself doesn’t save you, yet salvation without being baptized isn’t really complete. And everyone else already took the rest of what I was going to say! 😛

  • I think the Bible is really clear that if you are a Christian, it is by grace that you have been saved–Ephesians 2:5,8 (which I think others have mentioned). We can do nothing to save ourselves. All we know is that we have salvation when we believe that He already gave it to us. Being baptized is just a way of showing others that you are saved. I was baptized when I was ten or eleven, and my parents talked to me a lot about if I understood what it meant–a way to show others that I truly believed in Jesus. My dad grew up Catholic and became a Christian later in life, and although he was baptized as a baby he decided to be baptized again, just as an outward display of what was in his heart. So no, I don’t believe it is necessary to being a “good Christian”. But I definitely encourage you to consider doing it, not because you need to, but because you want to. Pretty much what everyone else is saying 😉

    • Ephesians 2:5,8 does NOT contradict acts 2:38.. APPLYING (through baptism) the Blood and WORK of Christ does Not equal EARNING it.. it is by GRACE we are saved.. THROUGH baptism.. without the shed Blood of Christ.. baptism saves NO ONE.

      • Hey Pearl:) First of all, I completely respect your view point on this subject, however I do believe differently than you. I don’t expect you to change your mind, but I thought I would just state exactly what I believe and why:)
        No, Ephesians 2:5,8 does not contradict acts 2:38 which says, “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”
        What I believe is that Jesus commands us to be baptized, as Peter says in the verse, and we should. But, if we disobey this command, He will not ban us from going to heaven. God knows that we will disobey Him sometimes, that is why He sent His Son to die in the first place!
        If this was the only verse in the Bible that talked about our salvation, then I think that it would be safe to think that being baptized is necessary for salvation. But since it is not, we need to look at the Bible as a whole.
        You said that “it is by grace that we are saved.. through baptism”, well, no, it doesn’t say that. It says it is by grace you have been saved. Period. And yes, Jesus does command us to be baptized but taken in context and looking at all the other verses that talk about our salvation ONLY being through grace, it is obvious to me that Jesus only wants us to be baptized out of obedience to Him, not to gain our passage into heaven.
        Romans 1:16a says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” It does not say, for everyone who believes AND is baptized.
        Romans 5:21 “so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Not eternal life through Him and baptism.
        I hope this makes sense:) I have no intention of starting an argument, just stating the reasons why I believe what I believe.

  • I’m uncomfortable with the phrase ‘a good Christian’ because we are not saved by our works. I do not believe that if someone doesn’t get baptized they are necessarily not saved, but like @wrrior4ever:disqus was saying, “salvation without bering baptized isn’t really complete.” Hope this helps! I know pretty much everything I said is just echoing what others have already said.

  • Baptism is completely necessary to be saved, and is much much more than a public proclamation. It’s a much deeper, much more personal thing. The entirety of what baptism even is goes deep into Hebrew roots, starting with the Exodus. When the final plague is almost upon Egypt, God tells Moses to put the blood of a lamb over the door post of each home. Interestingly enough this is extremely similar to how Jesus, also called a lamb, shed His blood and covered us with it. Now thats just the beginning part, the blood saved them from death, but their past was still behind them. They are making the Exodus, and leaving Egypt. They end up in a bit of a sticky situation, because what we have is a bunch of almost saved people stuck. See what happens is people decide to live for God, get saved then their past life starts to follow them, and if they do not get across the Red Sea quick it has them trapped again. The Red Sea analogy makes its representation known pretty well I think. Once the Sea is split they walk across, and as they are coming out, the Red Sea washes away their past and their enemies and everything that had them bound. They no longer had to worry about Egypt. The Red Sea washed them away, but Egypt had to choose either to take the step of faith and go through the sea, or follow another path through the Philistines. If we take on the blood of Christ without baptism we not only take a chance of our past getting us, but we also run the risk of entering a new land where war waits and can either bind us again, or send us back to Egypt. Baptism is also a sign to God, a covenant. No one else has to be there, besides your pastor really. There is much more detail to go into with this. In few words I can say it like this, a relationship with God is just that, a relationship. In Hebrew tradition a marriage would start with the groom to be giving a gift for the bride, the bride and groom then got baptized! together, alone, with just the priest. The Groom then leaves to prepare a home for the bride and when it is ready seven trumpets would sound for the bride to come home. If you haven’t figured out, the groom is Jesus, the bride is us. And this tradition of marriage, sound awful familiar to the way the Bible explains the second coming of Christ doesn’t it? This tells me that baptism is much more beautiful, than a robe, and some water, it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship which was destroyed in the garden when man was first made. When we go home, Heaven, our relationship is completely restored! 🙂

    • I love your red sea analogy! But you believe that you have to be baptized in order to be saved? Because neither I nor two of my pastor’s kids have been baptized yet (although we want to be soon), and that would imply that we’re not saved. Not trying to offend just figure out what you believe. 🙂

      • Jesus’s words are, unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. and a few scriptures later he says Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. So yes it is necessary to be saved, it is a commandment straight from Jesus Himself! 😀 hope this helps

        • Yeah I totally agree! I believe I have been born again through God’s grace, I guess I’m just curious how you associate that verse with baptism. 🙂

          • John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom if God. So Jesus says both water and spirit, water baptism and the other.

          • Hi Tyler, 🙂 I’d just like to point out that some people, as you said, believe the reference to water means you must be baptized in order to be saved. Others, as @disqus_oMHOgFTIn3:disqus mentioned, believe that the water signifies our physical birth.

          • How would it signify physical birth? That is simply an Opinion… There is NOTHING in scripture to back this up.

          • As someone who does believe Jn. 3:5 is speaking of physical birth, my reason behind that is simply reading Jn. 3. Taken in context, it makes much more sense than placing baptism into the passage. Look at the very next verse: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Think about what that seems to say. “Born of the flesh” sounds very much more like a physical birth than baptism. I think it takes more reading into the passage to place baptism in the passage (something seen nowhere else in the passage) than to think of it as a natural birth. I can go into more detail, but I know the moderators of the sight did not intend this to become a debate forum!

            You’re right, it is just an opinion. But that is what you and I are discussing right now, since neither of us are inspired! Thank you for having this conversation with me!

          • “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
            So what YOU are telling me is that if we do not have a “physical birth”.. we cannot enter the Kingdon of heaven…
            That just seems… nonsensical.. since we are ALL Born physically…

          • The same as you seem to be telling me that unless I’m baptized I cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven, something clearly contradicted by the thief on the cross, who entered the Kingdom of heaven without being baptized! Either Jesus didn’t mean this as a universal principle, or He didn’t mean baptism. If He meant that in order for anyone to enter heaven he must be baptized, then the thief on the cross must be excluded from heaven, since He was not baptized.

            Honestly, I don’t know how to explain that, since I do believe that babies who die in the womb go to heaven. Ideas, anyone else following this thread?

            By the same token, the idea that only those baptized can enter heaven also seems contradicted by the thief on the cross, does it not? You said that God is God, so He can save who He please, but I think we both agree He won’t lie. If He says, as you claim, in Jn. 3 that you must be baptized to enter heaven, and then to the thief on the cross (who was never baptized) he promises entrance into heaven, Jesus lied in one of those two places, something I think both of us will agree didn’t happen. Something isn’t adding up!

          • “As for Luke 23.. Jesus is God.. he can Save whom He chooses at any point
            He chooses.. the thief was a Believer.. but had NO Possibility of being
            baptized.. Jesus KNEW this. And so granted him salvation at His own
            discretion.”
            This does NOT nullify His command to those of us who CAN be.. to be baptized.
            This may not be comfortable to hear.. but I believe every person who is never given the option to consciously “choose” (unborn/young children) are Judged by God himself. God is Omniscient.. he KNOWS our heart and soul even before we do.. He KNOWS if they WOULD have been saved or not. WE.. being finite, mortal human being.. cannot fathom this.. and it is NOT our place to decide who is saved and who isn’t.

          • Hey Pearl and Taylor, about babies and young children, when David and Bathsheba’s child died, David said “But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” It sounds to me like David was pretty confident he would see his son again.

          • Thus my reason for a little confusion on my end. That’s why I believe that unborn children who die in the womb will be in heaven. It seems to punch a whole in both of our interpretations of Jn. 3. 🙂

            I think the emphasis needs to be that Jesus was emphasizing the fact that one needs more than a physical birth (if you read Jn. 3, it’s easy to realize that this was the point Jesus was making). When we says ” born of water and the spirit”, I kinda see that as if someone emphasized the word “and”, kind like saying, “Hey, Nicodemus, being born physically isn’t enough. You have to be born spiritually too.”

            That’s my extra-biblical interpretation. Thanks for pointing that out! Now I’m checking out of this thread!

          • So, say that someone were to accept Jesus into their heart, then die two hours later without being baptized. Even though they just proclaimed their faith, asked Jesus to come into their heart, and decided to follow Him whatever the cost, you’re saying that they wouldn’t be accepted into the kingdom of God because they didn’t get baptized? Baptism isn’t what saves! It is solely because of Jesus’ sacrifice that we are able to go to Heaven. Baptism is a physical symbol of dying to our old selves and being born again because we’ve accepted Jesus into our heart. It isn’t the deciding factor of where we go once we die. I completely agree with @disqus_oMHOgFTIn3:disqus, what you’re saying doesnt seem to be adding up.

          • I was thinking the same thing with unborn babies. Coming from a church that does infant baptism, I think it is very important, but not crucial to salvation. Only Jesus saves (by grace through faith – faith which He inspires by the Holy Spirit, but faith without action is dead because true faith will manifest itself in what we do)

    • Hey! I can come across kind of blunt online, so please don’t take this the wrong way or as trying to be divisive. But doesn’t making baptism a requirement for salvation mean that the blood of Christ really isn’t enough to actually save me, but my salvation also needs my own good work (baptism) tossed in too? I guess I’m trying to understand how baptism would not be considered a work, and thus contradict Rom. 11:6.

      In answer to your verse below, my personal understanding of John 3:5 is that Jesus is speaking as he does later in the passage of being “born again”. His reference to being born of water is a reference to our natural birth; our birth by the Spirit being the “born again” stage.

      My second question would be how you would deal with the thief on the cross in Lk. 23. Jesus tells him that he would be in paradise alongside Jesus “that day”, even though he had no chance to be baptized (somewhat difficult from cross!). That seems to imply that one can be saved and go to heaven without baptism. Am I missing something?

      I’m not writing this in an attempt to be argumentative or get into a debate. I’ve just never talked to anyone who believed this before, so I’m trying to understand a little better! Thanks!

      • If someone walks up to you and slaps a million dollar check in your hand and says “now CASH it”… would you consider cashing the check as a work you did to EARN that money.. or was it STILL a FREE and undeserved gift?

        • As for Luke 23.. Jesus is God.. he can Save whom He chooses at any point He chooses.. the thief was a Believer.. but had NO Possibility of being baptized.. Jesus KNEW this. And so granted him salvation at His own discretion.

          • So, do you believe that baptism is my action with which I secure Christ’s blood (cashing in the check)? If so, I think I get what you’re saying.

            Your analogy of the check still makes the actual effectiveness of Christ’s blood dependent on my work of baptism, right? Christ died, and that is enough, but until I do my part (baptism), it accomplishes nothing? That still sounds like a slightly different variation of works salvation to me. Please correct me where I’m misunderstanding you (because I feel like I am missing something).

          • Not being baptized would make his Blood sacrifice ineffective for YOU (same as any other non-believer)… not the world.. you did NOT earn the “money”/salvation.. HE DID.. you are simply accessing it via HIS command of “cash it”.

            Matthew
            28:18-20

          • I think a more accurate analogy of what you said earlier is not that Christ put the check in your hands. You said that the check is worthless unless I GO GET BAPTIZED. How is that not a work?

            I see that idea as more along the lines of someone offering me a million bucks if I go do something really simple for them. That’s works salvation!

            Anyhow, I asked my question to understand the author of the original comment better, not to get into a debate. I don’t intend to comment again on this thread, but thank you for the time you’ve taken to discuss this with me. It’s nice to talk with other believers who are willing to politely discuss views without calling names or labeling. Thank you and good night!

          • Thank you for your reply. Have a good night!
            I will simply make a new comment instead of replying here. But I MAY quote you to make my point because you bring up some good points.

          • Is that not a little inconsistent? I’m not being rude or anything but would that not mean that there is more than one way to be saved and some people are granted special exemption over others? Honest question, what do you think? I’m jsut trying to work it out.

      • Hi @Taylor B., sorry to but in on your conversation! Christ’s blood is enough to save, you need nothing else. But, faith without works is dead even though works can’t save. I know that’s confusing but basically, when you are saved, you act in obedience because you are thankful to God, not because it saves you. So baptism itself cannot save you otherwise we’d just go into the world baptising everyone and we wouldn’t have to worry about preaching or discipling people. Baptism is an act of obedience. Obedience is one of the fruits by which you can start to tell if someone is (already) saved.(By their fruits you will know them).
        You are saved and then you obey the commandment to make a public (symbolic) profession of your faith. Jesus was baptised which makes me less inclined to believe that baptism saves you because what did Jesus need saved for?
        And as an aside, children are physically born with a lot of water involved which is why women say their waters have broken, it’s the fluid that the baby was previously cocooned in in the womb. Just as a matter of grizzly biological interest 🙂
        So basically, I pretty much agree with you. Good point about the thief. I’d worry that if people say baptism is essential to salvation that they are doing something similar to the judaizers in Galatians. (Not trying to stir up trouble, just saying).

    • Don’t you think that some of what you said is reading into the OT passages what is not there? When dealing with allegory and types you have to be very careful. Some things in the OT are specifically referenced in the NT as types or symbols of things to come. The blood of lambs on the doorposts causing the angel of death to pass over was certainly a symbol of Christ–in fact, John and others referred to Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But what basis do you have in the Scriptures for comparing the Red Sea crossing to the Christian life?

      You said, “Baptism is also a sign to God, a covenant.” I would like to amend that and say that baptism is a sign of a covenant already made between you and God. It’s a sign of a change of heart that has already happened. When God makes an unconditional covenant with man, HE is the one who seals and guarantees it, not anything man does.

      In the (unconditional) Noahic covenant, God guaranteed that He would never destroy the earth with water again. He set the rainbow in the cloud as the sign of that covenant (Genesis 9:13). The covenant was not conditional on anything man did. In the (unconditional) Abrahamic covenant, God promised Abraham land, seed, and that his descendants would be a blessing to all nations. He sealed the covenant with a practice common in the ancient world. Basically, two men sealing an agreement would take an animal, cut it in half, set the two pieces on the ground, and both men would walk between the pieces, effectively saying, “May what has happened to this animal happen to me if I fail to keep this agreement.” God did this with Abraham. However, when it came time for them to walk in between the pieces, God put Abraham in a deep sleep and walked between the pieces alone. (Genesis 15) God alone guaranteed the fulfillment of that covenant–it was not conditional on anything Abraham did. In fact, Abraham made a mess of things when he tried to help God out ii the area of the seed promise!

      The covenant God has made with us in salvation is likewise sealed by God alone. He sealed it with the blood of His Son and the Holy Spirit. We did NOTHING. Baptism is merely us identifying ourselves with Christ, a public display of our decision to follow Him. Yes, baptism is commanded by God. So are many other things. For example, the Great Commission is a definite command. But if you do not evangelize, does that negate your salvation? I understand I am getting into very controversial territory here. None of us can perfectly keep God’s commandments. That is a fact. Works cannot save us. So why do we tack this onto salvation and say that without it one cannot be saved?

      Notice that I am NOT saying that you should not be baptized. However, I AM saying that not following God’s commands WILL hinder you in your Christian life. If you persist in disobedience, there WILL be consequences. In fact, 1 Corinthians 11:30 says that God even took some Christians home to be with Him because their lives were so dishonoring His name. If you are not baptized but have trusted Christ as your Savior, you should be seeking to be baptized. Josh A’s comment below is a good example of this.

      ~AnnaGrace

    • Hey, I’ve been hanging back from this conversation, but i thought i’d give my opinion. In the verse in John 3, where Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, Jesus may have been referring to our physical birth when He said a man must be born of water. Or, if that’s not the case, remember that this was happening before the cross. Jesus hadn’t died yet, but John was already baptizing people. Being baptized before Calvary may have been like animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. It was symbolic of things to come. When Jesus took His last breath on the cross, He cried out, “It is finished!” Not, “It’s almost finished, but you still have to be baptized.” I believe in Salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ. This is just my opinion however. May God bless all of us in our search for truth and wisdom!

      • But in James, the Bible clearly says can faith alone save a man? I will bring this back to the Red Sea analogy, only one of MANY representations of baptism. The blood already saved them, that’s why they didn’t have to die, but their choice to go through the Red Sea, their works, is what completed the process. It is when these two things come together that it is completed. And after this comes the Holy Ghost from which you will receive POWER. And as I have said before there is still much more to know about in the Bible it is a mysterious and deep read. Much more than just a glance, this is what it says here’s why and you’re done, kind of thing.

        And all of this aside, we are told to do it…that alone means do it. There should be no question to follow this commandment. If we continue to water down and compromise the Word of God, then we are holding back from God, which isn’t fair seeing as to how He held nothing back from me. If the Bible said that to be saved I had to wear my underwear on my head all the time, I don’t care if I can show all the reasons why it’s nessisary, or not, I’m about to start a wearing my clothes funny because it’d be way better for me to get to heaven and God say “oh you wore your undies on your head? You know you never had to do that,” and that’s it, rather than I get there and Him say, “well you did good you listened to your elders and you were respectful, but I said to wear your undies on your head and you didn’t, because you were too embarrassed, or you weren’t totally sure of my reasons behind it, so you disobeyed me, thus you willfully sinned, depart from me for I never knew thee.” It’s a somewhat ridiculous example, and even hurtful, but it kinda shows the reality behind all of this. In the end we’ve either done everything we can to get close to God and follow His will, or we’ve held back due to whatever, and you hold back due to anything, that shows a faith issue. Which means, you didn’t work even though you had faith, making your faith dead and useless…

        And Yes it’s a circle back to that, it can also be tied to Samson, and to David, the walls of Jericho. The Bible just wrapped around ties itself into a pretty bow. It’s all there, we just need to make sure we are doing EVERYTHING we can to get closer to God, without making excuses for why we can’t.

        Lastly on faith and works. God told Abram to leave his family and life behind, He didn’t give him any reason why or why not He said do it. And Abram went, no questions asked, no excuses given. He put his son on an altar as a sacrifice because God asked him to, and he didn’t ask any questions, or need a reason why he just did it because God told him to.

        (P.s. Sorry this was so long and kind of a circle I’m very passionate about Jesus, He is my best friend and my only Love, And I want to make sure that I am very clear when I speak about Him)

        • I agree that we should always do what Jesus tells us to do without question, which is why I have been baptized, and I do not question why He told me to. There are many things we will never fully understand and I still chose to believe and follow Him no matter what.
          But I’m not sure I understand your Red Sea analogy. You can’t really take a story like that and say it represents baptism.
          Although I can’t explain all the way what some of these verses that people have brought up mean, I continue to trust God in what I believe, that it is by grace we have been saved–Ephesians 2:8-9. When you say that baptism is necessary for salvation, that takes away everything the Bible says about it being through Jesus’ blood sacrifice that He made a way into heaven, and not through ANYTHING we can do on our own.
          When Paul says asks if faith alone can save a man, what makes the most sense to me is that he was elaborating on the fact that faith without works is dead, because if you truly had faith, works would accompany it. That doesn’t mean that without works you can’t be saved, but with faith comes the application of that faith through works.
          If baptism can not save anyone on it’s own, how does it save you then after you believe. This doesn’t make much sense to me.

        • Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully reply to my comment. I realize i wasn’t clear that i believe that baptism IS a commandment that should be obeyed! It is to be continually practiced today (unlike animal sacrificing). I respect your opinion, but remain firm in my belief that Faith alone saves us. I believe it to be true. God bless, and thanks again 🙂

  • what many of you here fail to understand is this.. Baptism is NOT our
    “work”.. it is the APPLICATION of the WORK of Jesus on the cross.
    without the blood of Jesus shed for us, through NO WORK of our own..
    baptism would be absolutely meaningless.. therefore it is not OUR work..
    but HIS.
    But don’t take MY word for it .. here’s what JESUS himself said..

    Matthew
    28:18-2018 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven
    and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of
    all nations, BAPTIZING them in the name of the Father and of the Son
    and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have
    commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the
    age.”
    WHY would Jesus command us to do something that wasn’t
    necessary? If HE did it ..and says that WE should do it.. who are we to
    argue or second guess Him?
    What more do you want?

  • “You said that the check is worthless unless I GO GET BAPTIZED. How is that not a work?

    I see that idea as more along the lines of someone offering me a million
    bucks if I go do something really simple for them. That’s works
    salvation!”

    This is a very good point.. but may I ask.. what is a “work”.. is it NOT a work to “accept jesus as a personal savior”.. simply because no PHYSICAL action is involved? .. You ACCEPTED.. that’s a CHOICE on your part.. if you don’t “Accept” him.. His Blood sacrifice is worthless (to YOU).. so why is it so hard to acknowledge that baptism is a necessary thing.. I don’t see the difference.. without the blood sacrifice of Jesus .. NOTHING WE DO can save us.. THAT is what GRACE means..

    • If you look at my comment below to tyler townsend, I think I covered most of this, but here’s a couple other points. This comment is in response to both your comment that this is under and your comment just below that begins with, “what many of you fail to understand…”

      Your comments:
      #1 “What is a ‘work’.. is it NOT a work to ‘accept Jesus as a personal savior’.. simply because no PHYSICAL action is involved? .. You ACCEPTED.. that’s a CHOICE on your part.. if you don’t ‘Accept’ him.. His Blood sacrifice is worthless (to YOU).. so why is it so hard to acknowledge that baptism is a necessary thing.. I don’t see the difference.. without the blood sacrifice of Jesus .. NOTHING WE DO can save us.. THAT is what GRACE means..”
      #2 “what many of you here fail to understand is this.. Baptism is NOT our
      ‘work’.. it is the APPLICATION of the WORK of Jesus on the cross.”

      My response:
      (May I first say that a better word than ‘accept’ is ‘trust’ and I will use it in place of ‘accept’ here. Same meaning, clearer word.)

      I will assume that by “accepting Jesus as [your] personal savior” you mean having faith in Christ. In Ephesians 2:8-9, it says, “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.” [emphasis mine] We are not saved BY faith, we are saved THROUGH faith. We are saved BY God’s grace. Not by our faith. Faith (trusting Christ as Savior) is not a work. In the NT faith is clearly distinct from works. Faith is the way God has provided for us to come to Him–“through faith”. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” God grants us faith. (I know this pulls up the predestination/free will battle. Not going to go into that here; just going to say that I believe that we have free will but God also predestined those who are saved to be saved. It’s a paradox and our human minds are never going to understand it.) Faith is the power by which we live the Christian life, and our works are evidence of that faith.

      Thus I say that baptism is indeed a work. In the NT we are commanded by God to do many other things besides baptism. If we make baptism (a work) a requirement for salvation, why aren’t all those other things required for salvation?
      “…make disciples…baptizing THEM [i.e. the disciples you make]…” = Baptism is something that you do after you have become a disciple, just like any other act of obedience to God’s commands. For a fuller explanation of this see my comment to tyler townsend. It is not the application of Christ’s work on the cross. That was applied to you at the moment you made the choice to reach out and take the free gift of salvation.

      If you need a fuller explanation of what I mean, PLEASE comment back and ask. And may I ask where you get your idea that baptism, to quote your comment, is “the APPLICATION of the WORK of Jesus on the cross”?

      ~AnnaGrace

  • Wow, there’s already lots of comments with conflicting viewpoints, so I’m not going to throw in my two cents 😉

  • I haven’t read all the comments but I will say this–and try to keep it brief. However, I do beleieve I bring sometihng new, different, and important to the convcersation.

    We agree that one must obey the Gospel (The Good News of Jesus) to be saved, right? So if baptism is a part of the Gospel, then we’d have to be baptized to be saved.

    In Acts 8, Philip is talking to an Ethiopian eunuch. We don’t know the words he said, but Scripture says in verse 35, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” Next, we see the man desire to be baptized in response to whatever Philip said. “36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.”

    What this shows is that the good news that Philip taught included a summary of the importance of baptism, or else this eunuch would have no reason to demand to be baptized. Baptism is a part of the Gospel, thus it’s an essential piece of Salvation.

    I wrote an article on my blog about What is the Gospel and How do we Obey it that explains this deeper. (http://jakedoberenz.blogspot.com/p/the-gospel.html)

    • I would have to disagree. We don’t know what Philip said, whether about baptism or comments about the weather. He may have mentioned baptism, but whether or not Philip said that it was a part of salvation is, in my opinion, pure speculation. We can reasonably guess that Philip mentioned the concept (since the Ethiopian in all likelihood had no other background with baptism), but whether or not Philip said “baptism is necessary for salvation” or if he said “baptism is an outward sign of an inward change” is not recorded in the passage. Either one would fit in regard to the Ethiopian’s reaction. We have no way of knowing what Philip said.

      I’m sorry if I come across as confrontational or combative. The gospel of grace is extremely important to me, so I tend to be a little (overly) passionate in attempting to defend it. Thank you for sharing your view!

      • I think you do offer a valid point, that Philip could have said anything about baptism. However, the interpretation I offer is consistent with Scripture.

        No where in Scripture do you see a phrase similar to “baptism is an outward sign of an inward change”. In fact, the Scripture we do find talks about baptism as a part of the Gospel’s message of Salvation. The Gospel–at it’s core the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus–is reancted through baptism so we can recieve a new life. Romans 6:3-5 says,

        “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

        Baptism is an act of participating in the heart of the historical event, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The eunuch was reading a Scripture in Isaiah about a lamb being slaughtered. It’s logical that Philip would have explained this as a reference to Jesus’ death, so baptism would have come up as the important symbol of that event.

        • Hey Jake! You’re comment raises some interesting questions. Just out of pure curiosity, do you think that Paul could possibly be talking about spiritual baptism instead of physically being immersed in water? In other words, could he be talking about being reborn in Christ through faith by grace (which I believe baptism represents) instead of actually being baptized?

          • I think Paul certainly could have been talking about spiritual baptism. The question of whether he was in fact talking about that, is another story. I just can’t think of any instances whether baptism was mentioned in a purely spiritual and not physical sense.

          • Even if that verse is talking about physical baptism, it never actually says, “To be saved, you must be baptized.” I believe baptism is an evidence of salvation, like good works, but I do not believe someone must be baptized to truly be a Christian. I feel like that would be inconsistent with the rest of the Bible, which clearly states that salvation is a free gift. Costly for Jesus, but free for us.

          • I would counter that with this: We certainly can never do anything to deserve Salvation, but it’s not free. Salvation is not like a coupon you simply redeem for free merchandise–it’s more akin to a prize given to all who do what was asked of them. You may think this Biblically inconsistent, but considering the majority of the entire Bible centers around following God’s instructions for mankind, I think it’s safe to say we have to put in some effort. God reaches out to all of us, but we have to stretch out our hands. James 2:14 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” so don’t come back with “faith not works”. We have to put in an effort–but Christ offers Salvation to all for free if they really want it.
            What is consistent with the Bible is that baptism is essential. Jesus was baptized. In Acts, no one was considered a part of the Church until they were baptized (Acts 2:47). Peter also tells us that like the Flood washed away bad people, baptism washes away our sins (1st Peter 3:20-22). Oh, and Jesus made sure to mention baptism as an explicit instruction in the Great Commision, specifically saying baptized saved you (Mark 16:15-16). More than “just a command”, if Jesus said it, it’s absolutely necessary! I think Scriptures agree that baptism is worth more than people value it as.

          • Again, I’m forced to disagree. To start off, I do want to thank you for being respectful and thoughtful during this discussion. I wish Christians could do this more often!

            “considering the majority of the entire Bible centers around following God’s instructions for mankind”. The Bible is not centered around man following God’s instructions. We are not somehow the focus of Scripture. That’s the place of Jesus Christ. I believe the entire Bible centers around the gospel of Jesus Christ. The OT and Law building up (being our schoolmaster) to the Messiah, who is prophesied in the Prophets, then seen up close in the Gospels, and discussed at length in the rest of the NT. Man is not the Bible’s emphasis. God is. I think this is really where we disagree. When I think about salvation, it’s all about Christ, because I (as a dead guy from Eph. 2:1) brought nothing to the table. I couldn’t even reach out my hands to accept God’s gift. I’m dead, remember?! Thus, my whole conversion, every millimeter, I owe to Jesus Christ.

            I agree that baptism is important (that’s why I’ve been baptized). It seems to be treated in the Scripture the same way it does in the African and persecuted church, to finally make an identification with the body of Christ. I agree it is indeed a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            Acts 10:43 has Peter telling Cornelius, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” First of all, Peter makes no mention of baptism. He says all you have to do is believe. Secondly, we see the Holy Ghost come upon his gentile listeners, and they begin to speak in tongues and praise God, before baptism.

            Acts 19 opens with Paul meeting twelve men whom he calls “disciples” who have not yet been baptized unto Jesus Christ. We know that after they have been, the Holy Spirit comes on them. But even Paul called them disciples before they were baptized.

            Lastly, you’re right. James tells us that man cannot be justified without works. But it’s very clear by looking at the entirety of Scripture (not isolated passages throughout) that those works cannot save (Eph. 2:8-9). Those works instead are the fruit of the salvation that already occurred.

            Thank you for taking your time to come on here and post your views. I don’t intend to continue on this thread, but feel free to respond as you like! Thanks for your time, Jake.

          • “The Bible is not centered around man following God’s instructions.”

            The Bible is focused on the Lord’s covenants with man and man’s responses. We can learn about the New Covenant, and it’s promises and conditions from the Old Covenant. Throughout scripture only those who both believed and obeyed received the Lord’s promises.

          • There are two different types of covenants in Scripture: conditional and unconditional. An example of a conditional covenant is the Mosaic covenant. In this case, you are right: only those who both believed and obeyed received the promises.

            An example of an unconditional covenant is the Abrahamic covenant. Abraham did absolutely nothing to receive God’s promise of land, seed, and blessing. The covenant or the receiving of its promises was not conditional on anything Abraham (or his descendants) did. In the case of his descendants (Israel), they never lost their ownership of the Promised Land, even if God removed them from it for a time. They were removed from the Land because they failed to fulfill the obedience prescribed in the Mosaic Covenant–a conditional covenant.

            In the case of the unconditional covenants, the only qualifier was belief. It was not conditional on anything man did. 1 Corinthians was written to believers, yet some of those who abused communion (cf the Last Supper–bread+wine) were actually taken off this earth by the Lord because they dishonored His name. Did this negate their salvation? No. But God did chasten them, and in this case severely. They still received the promise of the New Covenant–salvation.

          • “An example of an unconditional covenant is the Abrahamic covenant. Abraham did absolutely nothing to receive God’s promise of land, seed, and blessing. ”

            That’s commonly taught but I believe it to be incorrect. I’ll keep it short and you can use Genesis 12 to fact check me.

            (starts in 12:1)
            “ Now the Lord said to Abram,
            ‘Go forth from your country,
            And from your relatives
            And from your father’s house,
            To the land which I will show you;
            And I will make you a great nation,
            And I will bless you,
            And make your name great;
            And so you shall be a blessing;
            And I will bless those who bless you,
            And the one who curses you I will curse.
            And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.’”

            The first condition was ‘Go forth from your country…”

            Let’s go to verse 5 “Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.”

            When Abram got to where he was supposed to go the Lord told him, “To your descendants I will give this land.” We can see the condition was met and the blessing was given.

            2nd condition
            Go forth…
            And from your relatives
            And from your father’s house

            Abrams was not supposed to take Lot.(Go forth…And from your relatives)

            After they separated (Genesis 13) that condition was met. What happened then?

            The promise was kept.
            13:14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”

            There’s more but you’ll begin to see it as you search for it. But I think you see my point.

            Thanks for the great points and challenges!

          • This is copied and pasted from another comment I made in response to tyler townsend. If you want to find the full comment you can look for it, but here is the applicable part so you don’t have to go crazy looking for it. 🙂

            “In the (unconditional) Noahic covenant, God guaranteed that He would never destroy the earth with water again. He set the rainbow in the cloud as the sign of that covenant (Genesis 9:13). The covenant was not conditional on anything man did. In the (unconditional) Abrahamic
            covenant, God promised Abraham land, seed, and that his descendants would be a blessing to all nations. He sealed the covenant with a practice common in the ancient world. Basically, two men sealing an agreement would take an animal, cut it in half, set the two pieces on the ground, and both men would walk between the pieces, effectively
            saying, “May what has happened to this animal happen to me if I fail to keep this agreement.” God did this with Abraham. However, when it came time for them to walk in between the pieces, God put Abraham in a deep
            sleep and walked between the pieces alone. (Genesis 15) God alone guaranteed the fulfillment of that covenant–it was not conditional on anything Abraham did. In fact, Abraham made a mess of things when he tried to help God out ii the area of the seed promise!”

            Thanks for taking the time to discuss this. I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this point but it was good talking to you!
            ~AnnaGrace

          • I should have said earlier that you are right when you say there are conditional and unconditional covenants. Noah is an example of one with no conditions.

            Well I guess I don’t think there were several Abrahamic Covenants. Taking into account the the conditions and promises I’ve pointed out I think we have to view this as the finalization of the original covenant. Abraham had met the conditions and the Lord had already kept his promises by the time the chapter 15 event happened.]

            But the important the to keep in mind is that they New Covenant is conditional. There are places where forgiveness and salvation depend on an “IF.”

            If you are holy. If you persevere. If you remain in Christ. If you obey. If you confess Jesus is Lord. If you believe.

            “But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.”
            “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.”
            ” if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
            “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
            “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

          • Re a couple of the passages you mentioned…

            Mark 16:15-16 “And He 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 [condemned].'”
            Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “He that is not baptized…shall be [condemned].”

            James 2:14 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he have faith, and have not works? can faith save him?”
            Note the context of this verse. :18, 20b-23 “Yea, a man may say, ‘Thou has faith, and I have works’: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works…faith without works is dead. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS IMPUTED UNTO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS: and he was called the friend of God.”
            Cf. Romans 4:2-3: “[I]f Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS COUNTED UNTO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
            Abraham’s works were the EVIDENCE of the faith he had; his works were not what saved him. However, James was dealing with those who claimed to have professed faith but showed no evidence in their lives of it. Who will believe you are a genuine Christian if your life doesn’t back it up? Abraham’s salvation was contingent on his BELIEF, not on his works. The whole point of salvation is that we couldn’t do anything to earn or deserve it.

            I think you mean Acts 2:41, not 2:47: “Then they that gladly received his [Peter’s] word [he had been preaching a sermon sharing the gospel] were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”
            If you consider the context of this passage I do not think it can be used authoritatively on the subject of baptism and salvation.

            1 Peter 3:17-21 “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [made alive] by the Spirit: by which He also went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [Just like this,] 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;”
            Note the context, particularly the first sentence. This is written to believers. Peter says it is better for you to suffer for well doing (faithfulness to Christ) than for evil doing (chastisement for sin). The ark did not save those eight people from their sins; it rather saved them from the chastisement of God because they believed in Him. It is the same way with baptism. Baptism does not save us from our sins (the putting away of the filth of the flesh) but rather is a sign of our obedience to God–that we are now right with Him. You will notice that John the Baptist–who baptized Christ–used baptism in the same sense; baptism was an outward sign of people’s repentance and hearts right with God ALREADY. When the Pharisees came to be baptized, John called them a den of vipers because they looked good on the outside but their hearts were not right.

            To quote your comment, “You may think this Biblically inconsistent, but considering the majority of the entire Bible centers around following God’s instructions for mankind, I think it’s safe to say we have to put in some effort.” I would dare to say that the Bible centers around man’s FAILURE to follow God’s instructions, and what God decided to do about it. It is impossible for mankind to ever follow God’s instructions. Only Christ could do that, and His righteousness applied to our account is what gives us a right standing before God in the matter of salvation–our position.

            ~AnnaGrace

          • Well written Mis Anna

            “Mark 16:15-16 “And He 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 [condemned].'”
            Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “He that is not baptized…shall be [condemned].”

            Jesus said “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” but he didn’t say that anyone else would be saved. In other words, in this passage, the promise of salvation is only given for those who both believe and are baptized. Two
            conditions. We can add many things he didn’t say and make conjecture, but the only fact is what he did say.

          • I hope you can agree with me that receiving the Holy Spirit occurs at salvation. Now think of that in light of Acts 11, the story of Peter and his visit to Cornelius’ house. These believers both spoke in tongues and were said to have received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized. Peter said, “Can any man forbid water, that these should be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we?” Would you say that these were not saved until they had been baptized? Referring back to the Mark 16 passage, it says right after that verse that mentions baptism that “these signs shall follow them that believe; in My name shall they…speak with new tongues…” These new believers spoke in tongues before they were baptized.

            Later in the book of Acts (ch 16) comes the story of Paul and the Philippian jailer. When the jailer asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?”, Paul replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” No mention of baptism as a requirement for salvation, although the jailer was baptized later.

          • We can’t just look at some verses to make out doctrine, we need to look at everything within the context of the whole scripture. If you say that’s the entire gospel then you are saying neither repentance, baptism nor any obedience whatsoever is needed.

            “Would you say that these were not saved until they had been baptized?” Well I’d say if they chose to procrastinate or not be baptized at all then Jesus is not their Lord. He is not the Lord of those who ignore His commands.

          • I just asked my parents about that passage in Romans that you quoted, and they said that at a retreat they went to recently, the focused on those exact verses. In Greek, the word baptism in this passage actually means “placed into”, not actually being physically baptized. So then it would read, “Do you not know that all of us who have been placed into Christ Jesus were placed into his death? We were buried therefore with him by being placed into death….” That clarifies things a little more to think of it that way

          • I agree that the passage has that exact sense, but you can’t escape that water baptism undertones. Baptism is more properly defiend as “immersion, or to be dipped into” according the popular Strong’s Greek dictionary (http://biblehub.com/greek/907.htm) which is very close to your defintion, though it highlights the link to water. I think considered baptism has refers to the immersion into water that we understand it as today, it’s safe to say this text has no alternative meaning. Just as communion is a re-enactment ceremony of the Last Supper, baptism re-enacts Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

          • Thank you for replying:) You have been challenging me in this, and I know we can both learn things, so thank you.
            This comment might be a little long, so I’ll apologize ahead of time:/. I have been researching a lot on this topic because I would like to be firmly grounded in what I believe.
            My dad busted out an old theology book called Basic Theology by Charles C. Ryrie. He says a lot of interesting things on baptism that I want to quote here. First, I will quote some verses that talk about baptism. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” Mark 16:16.
            And Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
            About Mark 16:16, he says, “The original ending of Mark’s Godpel is the subject of much debate. It is doubtful that what we designate as verse 16 was part of the genuine close of the Gospel. At best, it would be unwise to base any doctrine on the content of verses 9-20.” I’ll just say here, you can look at those verses and it will have brackets around them because they probably were not apart of the original book. It continues, “However, it is also possible that if verse 16 is a part of the inspired text that the reference is to baptism of the Spirit. After all the Lord would have spoken Mark 16:16 at almost the same time as He spoke Acts 1:5 concerning the imminent baptizing ministry of the Spirit.” I’ll quote here Acts 1:5, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” This verse is very much talking about spiritual baptism, as I think you thought was not ever mentioned in the Bible.
            About Acts 2:38 Ryrie says, “Baptismal regenerationists understand this verse to teach that repentance and baptism lead to the forgiveness of sins. Unquestionably baptism was a clear proof in the New Testament times of conversion, whether it be conversion to Judiasm, to John the Baptist’s message, or to Christianity. To refuse to be baptized raised a legitimate doubt as to the sincerity of the profession.”
            He also goes on to to say the word in Greek (eis) could very well mean to be baptized because of the forgiveness of sins, not for forgiveness. Quote, “Eis is clearly used with this meaning in Matthew 12:41–they repented at (on the basis of, or because of) the preaching of Jonah.”
            On what you said about the baptism undertones in your last comment in Romans, my Bible doesn’t even use the word “baptism” but “united”. I don’t think you can automatically assume that he was talking about physical baptism at all. That could be perceived in many different ways, but to make it consistent throughout Scripture, that we are saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) we can safely think that he was talking about spiritual unity with Christ through His resurrection.
            Also, about Paul asking if faith alone can save a man, like I said in another comment, I think he was elaborating on the fact that faith without works is dead. (that’s what my pastor said in his sermon) If we have true faith, works will accompany it. That does not mean that we can’t be saved without works, but with faith, we usually display that faith through works, one of which is baptism.

          • Prior to the 1500’s baptismal regeneration was taken for granted. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin taught it. Ryrie’s interpretations conflict with almost everything written about baptism by the Apostolic fathers and the Church fathers.

            I may be wrong, of course, but I tend to put more confidence in those guys who were 1100 years closer to Jesus and the Apostles.

          • I agree with you that Ryrie is not always 100% accurate, having found in his writings things that I do not think are biblically accurate.

            On the manuscript issue: in the manuscripts that do not include Mark 16:9-20, there is a space on the page that is the exact size needed to copy in those verses. Therefore, in my comments I have assumed that they are indeed a legitimate part of the Scriptures.

            However, know that Martin Luther, although he set in motion the debunking of the false doctrines held by the medieval Catholic Church, was by no means accurate about everything. In many ways, he was still basically Catholic in belief. Also, what does it matter that they were closer to Jesus and the Apostles in history? At all times in church history there have been men that were wrong. Neither contemporary writers or Calvin and Luther walked and talked with Jesus and the Apostles. I would be very interested in hearing where you get your statement, “Prior to the 1500’s baptismal regeneration was taken for granted.”

          • You are correct Miss Anna some texts do not include those verse. I may be wrong but I have decided, in my mind, the the Holy Spirit caused it to be included.

            Again you correctly point out that Luther and Calvin’s writings aren’t divinely inspired and I apologize if I communicated that. The point I wanted to make is that the idea that baptism is only a symbol is a modern idea. That idea was not held by the guys who the apostles taught (Apostolic Fathers-the Christian leaders immediately succeeding the Apostles) or the guys they taught. Not saying their words are divinely inspired but it gives us an idea of what the Apostles taught.

            I may have missed something but I believe that every credible writer from 100 AD to about 1500 ad taught that Baptism is essential to salvation. A guy named Zwingli (and I may be wrong) was the first to say it was nothing but a symbol.

            I’m sure about the origins or motivation of this page but it has a lot of quotes about what the early church believed about baptism.

            http://www.bible.ca/H-baptism.htmhttp://www.bible.ca/H-baptism.htm

          • I tried clicking on the link you provided and it took me to a 404 page. Is there another way to find this page or do you have another one you could refer me to?

            This may be arguing from omission (or whatever the technical term is for that), but do you not think it odd that Paul in his letter to the Romans never mentions baptism in his explanation of the gospel? Paul, when writing this letter, had not yet visited the believers at Rome. In Romans 1:15, Paul says that he was ready to preach the gospel to them also. He proceeds to give them what was likely his basic overview/message preaching the gospel. In no part of this is baptism ever mentioned. If it were key to salvation, don’t you think he would have mentioned and emphasized it?

            ~AnnaGrace

          • “but do you not think it odd that Paul in his letter to the Romans never mentions baptism in his explanation of the gospel?”

            He does mention it in Romans 6.

            I don’t find it strange anyway. I look at his purpose and wonder if he would mention it. He wasn’t really giving a step by step road map of salvation, he was contrasting Judaism with Christianity. He explain in 3 that we are “justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Now keep in mind the context. He is speaking directly about circumcision, we can’t apply those words to baptism or any other of Jesus’ commands. Context matters quite a bit.)

            Chapter 6 is a part of that discussion and there Paul wrote about being baptized into Christ and also baptisms relationship to being born again. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

            I know the question has been raised if this was the baptism of the Spirit or water baptism. Here are my thoughts. Romans 6:3-4 and make it clear that the baptism of these passages involves both an immersion in “something,” and a “being raised” from the same substance. In my opinion that only makes sense if water baptism is the subject.

            On the other hand, if it’s the“Spirit” baptism it seems it would suggest that one is buried in the Spirit, and subsequently “raised
            from” the Spirit. That seems to imply that those baptized with the Spirit would not be kept by the Spirit, and therefore, would not belong to the Lord. By default, it must be water baptism.

          • You are right,it is mentioned in Romans 6, and I stand corrected. I was not thinking of that instance (Romans 6:3-4). Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

            ~AnnaGrace

          • Some teach that Romans 6:3-4 and Galatians 3:26-27 is not water baptism, but Spirit baptism.

            To me it’s doubtful Paul was talking about Holy Spirit baptism. He wrote, “Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” I think it makes sense that he would have written “Or are you unaware that we who were baptized with the Holy Spirit were baptized into Jesus’ death?”

            Also, we don’t go into and out of the Holy Spirit when we’re baptized with Him. But in this passage Paul speaks about both and being raised from the dead, meaning going under then out of the water.

          • I’m only fourteen, so I don’t pretend to have all the answers, however I’ve been doing a lot of research on this topic and talking with my pastor and reading theology books and searching the Bible so I can understand baptism more. In a comment bellow I answered Jake by saying that, in the Greek, the word baptism in Romans 6:3-4 really means “placed into”. Again, I don’t know Greek so I can’t just make this claim. My pastor does though, and I trust his interpretation.

            Just out of curiosity, do you believe that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice wasn’t enough? You mentioned in another comment that you do not believe that either baptism or faith is enough to save us. Take this verse, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does no believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” –John 3:16-18

            Also Romans 1:17a “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last…”
            Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves. it is the gift of God…”
            These plainly states that we are saved through faith.If baptism was really a crucial part of salvation, I would think that these verses would mention it. But they don’t. Instead they say that it is only through faith–and Jesus sacrifice is what made it possible, not anything besides, “the gift of God”.

            I’m sure you have many verses that you believe also prove your viewpoint, and if you’d like to mention them, I’d be glad to discuss them. Thank you for replying!

          • Eva I praise God that you are searching for the truth. The most important advice I can is that you get a book called “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth” by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart.

            The second bit of advice I would give is, don’t decide what you believe and then make the Bible fit in that box.

            Pray and fast about most things that are important.

            We can’t decide what we believe based on a few verses that agree with us. We have to interpret everything within the context that it’s written and we need to understand who it was written to and why it was written.

            His sacrifice is definitely sufficient. But, Jesus also said “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

            That doesn’t mean we lose salvation whenever we sin, because He forgives us when we repent and begin to obey Him. He said we must be baptized. Period. I we love Him we’ll obey Him and remain in his love.

            The Bible teaches us to obey and believe. The author of Hebrews wrote “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left…”
            His sacrifice and His grace doesn’t give us free reign to disobey and sin.

          • I will definitely check out that book. Thanks for the suggestion:)
            I know that a lot of kids believe everything their parents teach them on religion without explanation, and then are not sure how to defend their faith later. I truly think I understand baptism more than I ever have during these discussions. You definitely give me a lot to think about. Thank you for challenging my faith so that I can grow stronger.
            And I completely agree that we should obey and believe. I don’t take obeying lightly, that is why I too have been baptized and continue to work hard on becoming more like Christ, as He commanded me too. And no we should not disobey anything God commanded us to do. As Paul says, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” But we still do disobey sometimes, and that is why Jesus died and rose again. No, I do not believe that we have free reign to disobey, even in His grace. I very much agree with you.

          • exactly!

            “And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” ~Paul to the church in Philippi and then me to you

          • Notice that in Mark 1:8, John the Baptist said, “I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy [Spirit].” So there is basis in the Scriptures for baptism referring to baptism of the Holy Spirit.

            If you read Acts 9 you will find that Paul was NOT baptized to wash his sins away. The text certainly does not say that. Having a horrible memory myself and knowing that this has on occasion happened to me, I believe you probably didn’t recall it correctly and weren’t looking at it at the time.

            ~AnnaGrace

          • You may not it can be used “authoritatively” but there it is. Also Peter said to be baptized for the remission of sin. Two of the Lords witness say baptism has something to do with the removal of sin. I don’t understand it but the Bible says it.

            I’m often accused of being mean on these types of discussions, trust me I’m not angry and I’m do not want to offend.

            “To connect the washing away of his sins with “be baptized” gives grounds for connecting “arise” with the washing away of his sins.”

            That’s pretty weak isn’t it? I mean that’s not different that me telling my son to go in the house and eat. Whether or not I say go in the house or just say go eat he knows he needs to go into the house to eat. Paul would have to get out of his seat to be baptized whether he was told to or not.

            Also you have tried to make your case while ignoring the rest of scripture. We are told to be baptized in many places without being told to arise.

          • I could have said that better. I did not mean that ‘arise’ should be connected, just that it is a series and does not necessarily connect baptism with the washing away of sins. And I don’t think I am ignoring the rest of the Scriptures, but enough from me.

            This will be my last comment on this thread–with the exception of replying to something I was tagged in. Thank you for your time; I know what you mean about coming across harsher online and I apologize if the way I have answered you has seemed antagonistic and not God-honoring. It’s been good to have a discussion with a brother in Christ and I hope I get to meet you and all the other people who comment on here someday in glory!

            ~AnnaGrace

          • You do not seem angry. I always enjoy being to discuss things with other Christians without anger and name calling. Stating your opinion and standing by it is certainly not offensive. Thank you for your input!

        • I think my biggest problem with your point of view (and if I’m missing something or misrepresenting it, please tel me) is that it appears to be works salvation. The Scripture says that salvation comes completely by God’s grace through our faith. You’re telling me that that apparently is not enough. God can give His grace, I can exercise my faith, but I still need to go out and do something in order for God to grant me salvation. That’s works salvation. Anytime we take the gospel and say, you have to go do this or that (anything more than receiving it in faith) in order to receive it, it is no longer grace. You can say all day long that it’s still salvation by grace, but the truth of the matter is that you are working to get it, and thus salvation by works.

          Secondly, if baptism is necessary for salvation, I’m going to bring it back to the thief on the cross, who died and was promised entrance into heaven, without baptism. Do you believe in deathbed conversions, or can you only be saved if you have enough time to find a pastor or somebody to baptize you?

          Thirdly, what about when Paul tells the Philippian jailor in Acts 16, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.” He just promised someone salvation if they would just trust Jesus, not be baptized. He didn’t even mention baptism. So, at least at this point, Paul didn’t feel it necessary to tell them they needed to be baptized, something I think he probably would have thought of as more of a priority if it was for salvation.

          • James 2:14, 17-20 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? …faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?”

            So, we HAVE TO HAVE WORKS. Ephesians 2 you refer to, does speak of Grace being a free gift. We don’t EARN it by our works. What I do doesn’t make me more eligible than what you do, to get God’s grace. It’s for everyone. HOWEVER, we still have to do something to show we’ve taken God up on that offer. The Scriptures show Salvation as a multi-step process. The Salvation plan is as follows: Hear (Romans 10:13-17), Believe (John 2:30-31), Repent of your Sins (Luke 13:3), Confess your Faith (Romans 10:9-10), Be Baptized into Christ (1 Peter 3:21), Remain Faithful and live a godly life (Colossians 1:21). The words are useless unless put into action.

            The thief on the cross. Do you KNOW he wasn’t ever baptized? You don’t. Additionally, you’ll notice this guy didn’t say a Sinner’s Prayer or even “accept Jesus” into his heart. In fact, because the guy admits Jesus was sinless (Luke 23:21) I’d put my proverbial money that this guy may have been a follower of Jesus who could have already been saved and baptized, considering he knew that Jesus was sinless which would come with interacting with Jesus’ ministry in some way.

            Even the times Paul or Peter or someone did say to just have faith, it’s always followed by a baptism. Jesus was baptized, which gave him the Holy Spirit and started his ministry. That’s quite the example to follow–and Jesus knows what he’s doing. And remember, the jailor and his family were baptized (Acts 16:33), so baptism clearly was mentioned that night! That Scripture you quote is just cherry picking. You’ve glossed over all the other Scriptures that say to be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, Acts 10:48, Acts 22:16). When you look at the whole, rather than a few verses, you see that salvation by faith is only step one!

          • One thing we need to remember about the thief is that God Himself (Jesus) granted that exception (if it was an exception). The thief may have been baptized or not and the fact is he was nailed to a cross and could not possibly be baptized. Only Jesus has the authority to grant exceptions to his commands. We were never granted the authority to anything except teach people they must be baptized, which faith alone doctrine does not teach.

          • I don’t think we’re questioning the validity of Jesus’/Paul’s commands to be baptized; it is more a question of whether or not it has to happen if we want to go to Heaven. I think we all agree that it is one of God’s commands, and as such, we should follow through with it.
            I just don’t want either “side” to misunderstand the other…

          • Are you saying we can disobey God’s commands, without repentance, and go to heaven?

            I just want to point out:
            1. Jesus’ commands are not “works” they are conditions to the New Covenant.
            2. We can choose to believe in Jesus and believe his words while choosing to not obey Him.
            3. Obeying Jesus is not optional, we must obey Jesus to be saved.

            How can we think he is Lord if we choose not to obey him? If He isn’t our Lord, He isn’t out Savior.

          • That is a difficult question… I think of Romans 8:38-39, where Paul says nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. In some ways, even we can’t separate ourselves from Him (2 Tim 2:13 is an example of that). We only need Christ because we have disobeyed God’s commands. We only repent for the things we realize we did wrong; there is so much more that we don’t even realize! If He waited for us to repent of everything we’ve done that breaks His commands, none of us would get to Heaven. Just throwing that out there 🙂
            (Re: 1) Jesus’ commands are important, and I agree that they are necessary to follow. However, His commands are impossible to follow; hence our need for salvation.
            (Re: 2) I agree, that is entirely possible. I’m not sure how this affects our discussion – can you explain further, please?
            (Re: 3) Again, fully obeying Him is impossible. And I already kind of answered in my explanation at the beginning.

            I agree that we should do our best to obey Him; that’s no question in my mind.

            Welcome to the Rebelution! Do you plan to hang around here?
            You seem to be thinking this through thoroughly; I respect your views and how you stated them, even if I don’t agree entirely. Therefore, I’d be interested in your answer to a question I asked on here. If you’d like, here’s the link: http://therebelution.com/blog/2015/02/what-is-the-role-of-baptism-in-the-christian-life/#comment-1881774516 Look at the comment above the one it’ll take you to.

            If I”m not being clear, go ahead and point it out; I don’t do very well putting my thoughts into words sometimes.

          • “I agree that we should do our best to obey Him; that’s no question in my mind.”

            You hit the nail on the head. We must obey and we will fail. But he will offer grace when we choose to do our best and return to him.

          • Alright, let me see if I can write a little more clearly.

            1. Agreed. They only become works when our attitude in them is to gain salvation through them. Many people tithe in order to be “good enough” to get to heaven. It doesn’t make tithing a work. It simply make tithing with that attitude a work.

            2. Absolutely not. James is very clear that if we believe in Jesus, then works will follow. But the works will be done out of love for Jesus, not a desire to gain salvation. I think that’s where I probably wasn’t clear in my other comment.

            Works are necessary! If we don’t have works, we aren’t truly saved. Salvation is gained wholly through grace by faith. However, if we claim to have faith, yet do not love each other or obey Jesus’ commandments, we don’t have faith! We lie and the truth is not in us!

            3. “We must obey Jesus to be saved”. I think I may take a moment to explain my view, since it might help us relate better what the other means. When I accepted Christ, I completely surrendered my life to him, placing every iota of confidence in His work on the cross and in His Son. I still had none of the works to back it up that day, but I believe that Scripturally, I was saved. If I’d died that day, I would have gone to heaven.

            Now, if I came home and acted the same as I did before, that’s a sign I wasn’t truly saved. I prayed a sinner’s prayer when I was five, but my life didn’t reflect a change in attitude or behavior, which makes me think I was not actually saved then.

            Salvation itself comes by faith, by accepting Jesus’ finished work on the cross. However, if it doesn’t include works, it is not true faith. It’s a copycat replica, hypocrisy.

            My statement is that baptism is necessary, just as any other commandment of Scripture. But I also know that I have failed to keep all the commandments too. Oh, I know my own heart too well to think that! I have been angry, I have not loved perfectly, etc. The list could go on and on.

            But that’s why God imparted His righteousness to me as His child, because I’m not perfect. No, it’s not an excuse to quit trying to keep His commands, but it is a statement of fact.

            You and I cannot keep the commands of Christ perfectly. We have both failed to keep points too, and if we have broken one point of the law, we have broken them all. So, at some point, we still disobey Christ, because I’m not sinless yet.

            My pastor just yesterday used the analogy of a video camera. If you follow a Christian and get a picture of him, you may get the wrong idea of a Christian. You may have a picture of him losing his temper with his wife, and thus say that he’s probably not saved. But if you have the video camera, you can see that after that angery explosion with his wife, a Christian will feel guilty, and compelled to repent.

            By the way, I like your last sentence! I’ll have to remember that for the future. Lastly, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. It’s helping me to look at the Bible in ways that are not necessarily comfortable to me, but necessary!

          • To tack something else on the end of an already outrageously long comment, knowing my own imperfection does not dismiss me from trying to keep Jesus’ commands. I believe it’s in 1 or 2 Pet. where we’re told to “strive to add to your faith works”. “Strive” implies a lot more than a casual, waltzing attitude toward doing the right thing. I always picture like a man dragging something up a huge hill.

            So didn’t missread me. I’m not saying, “Oh, well, I got grace! I don’t need works!” Nope, we are to strive, to push ourselves, to do the right thing. But, honestly, we will fail. And that is where God’s grace is so beautiful!

          • Thanks for the imput. Sometimes the comments don’t seem clear as to whether we’re arguing for baptism period, or baptism for salvation, so thanks for the clarification!

          • Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t that seem like a dodge? Jake Doberenz made the claim that God demands baptism for salvation. I pointed out that the thief went to heaven without baptism.

            An exception to the rule is not a viable choice here. This wouldn’t be an exception. This would be a contradiction. If Jesus said that no one can enter heaven without baptism, turned around, and let someone into heaven without baptism, what part of that doesn’t seem like a contradicton?

            You can label it an “exception” if you want, but if my coach tells me that no one can leave until they do 100 pushups, then turns around and let’s me leave after doing 10, he is a liar. Saying that he just made an exception doesn’t make sense. He contradicted himself. You can’t have it both ways. Either everyone must be baptized to enter heaven, or not. You can’t say everyone, then turn around and exempt someone from the principle, and then claim it’s consistent.

            Now, unless I miss my guess, your counter to this will be that God is God, so he can make an exception if he wants. However, Hebrews 6:18 says that God cannot lie. So, I’m going to lay this out as plainly as I can.

            1. God cannot lie.
            2. God says anyone who enters heaven must be baptized.
            3. God allows thief to enter heaven unbaptized.

            What then is the logical conclusion? I only see three. 1.) We misunderstood the verse declaring baptism necessary for salvation (the stance I hold to). 2.) God lied (something I think we both agree is impossible. 3.) The thief was baptized some time previous to his crucifixion and belief in Jesus, something I consider unlikely in the extreme.

            My point is this: you can’t have it both ways. You’re the second person on here to say that God just made an exception in this case. Does that sound like the God of the Bible? “This is true in every single case, every single time”, then turn around, and break the statement. That doesn’t sound like the God of the Bible.

            Your last statement is a little confusing. In Matt. 28, we’re commanded to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded us to do. That is a lot more than just baptism.

            Lastly, faith alone doctrine does teach baptism. It is necessary as is any other command of Scripture. But it is not what your salvation hinges upon.

          • If your coach punish you for leaving injured in an ambulance was he reasonable or not? Was he merciful? Did he extend grace?

            That thief had no opportunity to be baptized (that we can prove or he may have been baptized), he could come down off the cross to be baptized, so this is an example of grace. If Jesus was as unbending as you seem to be saying I doubt he’s have gone to the cross at all. I’ll let Jake give his own opinion, but if it’s as stringent as you seem to think then I would suggest a study in grace for him.

            “Lastly, faith alone doctrine does teach baptism. It is necessary as is any other command of Scripture. But it is not what your salvation hinges upon.”

            It’s not necessary if it has nothing to do with salvation. But if you disobeyed Jesus isn’t that sin? And how do you repent of not being baptized? Can you be saved if you refuse to repent?

            That’s the simplest way to look at it but Jake pointed out other facts about baptism. (Becoming a member of the body of Christ, etc.)

            Thanks for you insights and remarks.

          • I think you’re missing my point. It doesn’t have to be complicated. If God says everyone must be baptized to be saved (as Jake claimed), then turns and allows a man into heaven unbaptized, God did not keep His word. He lied, He contradicted himself, call it what you will. That is not the God.

            I do not consider God unbending. But I don’t know how you believe anything He says if you think it possible that He says one thing, does another, and calls that grace. The grace of God shown on the cross is completely consistent with the nature of God. Contradicting Himself is not.

            One story of the OT that always struck me was the story of Uzzah. God said no one was to touch the Ark. Uzzah touched it, with probably righteous motives or just reflex, but he touched it. A second later, he was dead. Why?

            Because God keeps His word. I realize that the NT doesn’t include many (if any) examples of similar accounts. However, we see God stay strictly true to what He said, even if it seems more just in our human senses for Him to just tell Uzzah, “Hey, I understand. You probably didn’t even think about it.”

            There’s a punishment for sin. God doesn’t look at us and say, “Well, I understand it’s just your flesh. We’ll let this one slide.” No, God demands justice. That’s why His Son had to die. If God says it requires blood to forgive sin, it requires blood, every single time. If God says it requires baptism for forgiveness of sins, it requires baptism, every single time.

            God doesn’t usually deal with exceptions. What you consider an exception I consider a contradiction.

            I too doubt that Jake is as stringent as that. But this is the only conversation I’ve ever had with him, so I can’t tell his thoughts. I can only deal with what’s been written. He claimed you must be baptized to be saved. That’s what I’ve attempted to deal with.

            If I ever was able to speak in person to you or Jake, I’m sure we could communicate our thoughts much better, and we could both get an idea as to the ideas and attitudes of the other guy. Unfortunately, that’s not possible. I have to simply deal with what’s been written. I’m responding to Jake’s comment, “1 Pet. 3:21 says baptism saves. Read it.” That statement implies that he thinks baptism saves, and without baptism, none are saved. If baptism is what saves, those without it are not saved.

          • “I think you’re missing my point. It doesn’t have to be complicated. If
            God says everyone must be baptized to be saved (as Jake claimed), then turns and allows a man into heaven unbaptized, God did not keep His word.”

            Well that’s true then aren’t there other times God didn’t keep his word?

            The Pharisees brought the adulteress to Jesus and asked him what to do. He shamed them and gave her mercy. What did the Law say? ““‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.”

            So Jesus didn’t keep his own law. If he had kept the Law he would have had the Pharisees go get the man and then have both man and woman stoned to death. But he chose to be merciful. They were guilty yet he did not do what the law required.

            The lady with the unclean flow who touched Jesus robed and was healed was supposed to go sacrifice doves. Jesus did not require it and he told her “Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

            BTW I keep saying mercy and I should define it. The lady was guilty but punishment was withheld. We see this throughout scripture even if some of my examples weren’t good ones. And perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word exceptions it over complicated things and didn’t really define what I wanted to communicate.

            The thief on the cross wasn’t baptized (that we know of)yet he was granted salvation and was forgiven. That’s mercy.

            I don’t think one has said that Baptism alone saves, even though Peter said it does. The New Testament says several things save other than belief.

            “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
            “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
            ” Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
            “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
            “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.”
            “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
            “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

            We can’t say only faith saves us when we see in scripture that enduring persecution, baptism, holding firmly to the word, and being holy are all said to be involved in salvation. It’s not one thing alone that saves us, it’s the culmination of what we believe and how we choose to respond to scripture.

          • Okay, I think I’m understanding what you’re saying now. Honestly, I can’t explain it all. I’m going to step out of the discussion now, but thank you for your patience and time.

            I will be thinking about some of your examples for a while, but for now, I certainly appreciate your taking the time to discuss this.

            In closing, I just want to sum up one thing. Feel free to respond if you want. Baptism, in my opinion, is no different than any other command of Scripture. We show our love for God by keeping them, and that includes baptism. If our life is summed up by repeated and unrepentant breaking of God’s laws, we are not actually saved, because we are not walking in the light, as 1 Jn. 1 speaks so much about. Baptism doesn’t save, but it is yet another fruit of true salvation. Our new desire to obey God should make us desire to be baptized, since He commanded it.

            I think we agree on a lot. We’re simply targeting smaller points on the same topic. Either way, thank you!

          • Taylor thanks for your comments, it’s refreshing to have a dialog with guys like those who are posting here, who are in search of truth rather than winning a debate.

            I agree with what you said about baptism, but there’s more to it. And as I want everyone to know, I don’t understand it I just believe it. In scripture we’re told that we are baptized into Christ, baptized into the Church, buried and resurrected with Christ, our sin is washed away (remission of sin), and other things. Baptism is connected to our spirit and The Spirit in some way. In some way it some how has something to do with us becoming one with Christ.

            “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 1having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in zthe powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11–12

            Baptism is the Christians circumcision. There’s just more to it than getting dunked to show we believe.

            Anyway thanks again and God Bless you sir.

          • I think there is a lot of confusion concerning “works
            salvation.” Paul’s use of the word “works” was almost
            exclusively used with reference to those who were trying to mix the New Covenant with the Old Covenant. Quite simply his message was that we are in a New Covenant and things like circumcision have no place in it. We must keep scripture within its context and interpret it within its context. If Paul was
            writing about circumcision as he was in Ephesians 2, we shouldn’t try to apply that to what Jesus commanded about baptism.

            It’s a big mistake to think Paul ever meant to convey, “obeying God and being faithful to this new covenant have nothing to with salvation.” If we read the entire context of the New Testament within the entire context of scripture we can see that faith and loving (not blind) obedience are equals. We must not only have faith, we must be faithful. After all we are in a covenant that does have conditions.

            I realize that scripture says “Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.” But I can’t read that and ignore “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

            Likewise, I can’t ignore “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” Noah walked faithfully with God, which means he was obedient to God and therefore was righteous.

            Just as importantly scripture says, “…there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.”

            So we have those in scripture declared righteous for their obedience and others because of faith.

            Neither Noah nor Abram obeyed the Law because the law didn’t exist, but both were faithful to God. The Law doesn’t exist in the New Covenant and baptism is not in the Law of Moses, it is an act of faithfulness that also has some kind of deep spiritual consequences that I can’t explain or even
            understand.

            Another important note is that the Lord expected repentance of every person who willfully sinned, in the Old and New Covenants. If baptism is optional then so is repentance because it is something, other than faith, that must be done for salvation.

            The real lesson, in the entire context of scripture, that salvation is for those who love God and those who choose to have faith in Him and obey Him love Him.

  • Pretty much everything I would have said has already been posted, so to anyone reading this- keep your eyes open, use good discernment through the Holy Spirit and the scripture, and if there is any contradiction- trust the word of God above all human argument.

    Shout out to all who have given very wise and tactful, as well as biblical, responses to this post! I’m impressed with the good theology and manners 🙂 Keep it up, guys an’ gals!

  • You said you didn’t think there were verses that said baptism is necessary for salvation, so I wanted to know your thoughts on these verses.

    1 Peter 3:20-21
    “because they {pre-Flood people] formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”

    Mark 16:16

    “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

    Regarding your comments on John 3:5, your interpretation makes more sense than the classic view that’s it’s amniotic fluid from a baby’s birth. However, I don’t see enough evidence to suggest it’s anything other than actual water. What is the difference between Living Water (AKA God’s Spirit) and the Spirit (AKA, still God’s Spirit). They are the same thing, so they don’t need repeating. For this reason, I think that water is something separate from Spirit, but also intertwined. Acts 2:38 says that baptism offers us “the gift of the Holy Spirit” so I think it’s more likely that Jesus meant water baptism and the Spirit that that offers. Nicodemus also would have been aware that John was baptising people–an act that must have some kind of purpose!–so would have understood the reference to water as a reference to John’s water baptism. Jesus added the gift of the Spirit to this water baptism of repentance. Oh, and by the way, what Jesus said in all the Gospels was to people under the Old Covenant and it’s still true today!
    Side note–Jesus himself was baptized two chapter before. and I’m sure it wasn’t an outward sign to show that He accepted Himself. He first got the whole of the Holy Spirit as his baptism (John 1:32), just as Acts 2:38 says we get the Holy Spirit from baptism.

    I’m glad you mentioned Matthew 28. I’d like to again show you another Great Commission scripture from Mark 16:15-16, “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” We are commanded to baptism not just because it’s an outward sign, but because it’s a part of a multi-step Salvation Plan, the first part which is to believe.

    Is it possible the Acts 16 verses you mentioned, the jailer wanted to be saved from the earthquake? Even if he meant Salvation wise, which I think is likely, Paul and Silas’ words don’t contradict baptism being necessary. Believing is the first step! Without believing, being baptized and living a good and faithful life are meaningless. Paul talks about baptism’s necessity elsewhere (Romans 6:3-4, Galatians 3:27), so just because he didn’t say it this once doesn’t mean it’s not an important piece. In fact, Paul and Silas didn’t tell the jailor a lot of things, like how to follow God and participate in the Church.

    I appreciate your comments! I hope you see Christ through me as I make the case for baptism.

    • Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t sure about the first verse you quoted, 1 Peter 3:20-21, but I did some research and found a good article that I’ll link to here: http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-1Peter-3-21.html

      Concerning Mark 16:16, Mark focuses on belief in this verse. He says at the end “whoever does not believe will be condemned.” He doesn’t say “whoever does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned. I could easily say he who believes and prays everyday will be saved, but it’s the belief, not the praying that will save you. I hope that makes sense.

      On John 3:5, it seems that the water and the Spirit are the same thing repeating, but I think that it most likely refers to two parts of the same thing. Water is often referred to symbolically in the Old and New Testament as the work of the Holy Spirit in cleansing the believer. Here, the water refers to a cleansing of past sins. The Spirit in this verse would refer to the Holy Spirit’s power to continually sanctify us and allow us to become more like Jesus. In regards to Nicodemus understanding water as a reference, wouldn’t it make more sense for Jesus to just say one needs to be “baptized and born of the spirit,” instead of referring to it as being “born of water”? When I said Nicodemus was under the Old Covenant, I meant that the way Jesus explains salvation to Nicodemus will be different than the New Covenant because Nicodemus wasn’t under the New Covenant at that point.

      In Acts 16, I don’t think it is likely the jailer talking about the earthquake, as the earthquake seems to be already over at that point. Either way, I don’t think it is relevant, as Paul and Silas give an answer concerning salvation. My point here was that since Paul and Silas are talking about salvation, why would they not say “believe in the Lord Jesus and be baptized”? On a subject as important as salvation, it doesn’t seem like they would leave out such an important step.

      You gave Romans 6:3-4 and Galatians 3:27 as examples of Paul talking about the necessity of baptism. I don’t really see in these examples Paul saying baptism is necessary for salvation and I think it is likely in these verses that Paul is talking about spiritual baptism.

      I didn’t put this in my previous comment, but in Ephesians 2:8-9 it says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. We are saved through faith, not baptism.

      • Agreed. What’s funny is that is the same article that I mentioned to the latest post by @disqus_RUViuFdFFK:disqus (at the top)!
        I think it is a great article!

      • “Concerning Mark 16:16, Mark focuses on belief in this verse. He says at the end “whoever does not believe will be condemned.” He doesn’t say “whoever does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned.”

        Shouldn’t we focus on what Jesus did say rather than speculating on meanings based on what he didn’t say?

        He only made the promise of salvation to those who believe and are baptized.

        Gotquestions comes from a narrowly focused doctrine and you need to understand that they may not be correct. We each need to search through scripture for the truth as God intended. Not saying those guys aren’t very knowledgable, but they do come from and stand point that has many inconsistencies.

        • Thanks for responding!
          I understand what you mean about speculation, but the fact is that Jesus didn’t say those who aren’t baptized are condemned. When I first posted what I said above, I did a quick google search to see if my argument even made sense. Apparently, I’m not the only one who believes this. https://carm.org/baptism-and-mark-1616
          I got the second part of my argument from this, (“I could easily say he who believes and prays everyday will be saved, but it’s the belief, not the praying that will save you.”) and I feel this is reputable organization. It also mentions some issues with the ending of Mark and that it might not even be inspired scripture. I’d encourage you to read the article.

          About gotquestions, I’m not clear on what you mean by “narrowly focused doctrine” and that their standpoint “has many inconsistencies.” Could you elaborate further on that?

          • Hey Chris I hope all is well with you today.

            (please forgive me for writing a book)
            Here is the basis for my thoughts on not only Baptism, but all obedience to what Jesus taught.

            First a little history

            A guy named Augustine of Hippo had a huge amount of influence on the 13-14 century teachers (Reformation teachers/writers) and Catholics. He popped up around about 400 AD, and he was a convert from Manichaeism, Stoicism and other Greek religions and philosophies. When he became a Christian he combined aspects of each of the Greek philosophies with Christianity.

            Many of today’s doctrines can be traced back to Augustine, but can’t really be found in what the credible Christian writers before him wrote. One scholar wrote “The main features of Calvin’s theology (note: the basis for Baptist and most other denominational doctrine) are found in the writings of St. Augustine to such an extent that many theologians regard Calvinism as a more fully developed form of Augustinianism.” This was coming from a guy who would agree with many denominational doctrines.

            That’s why think denominational must be scrutinized very closely and why I’m trying to understand the Bible without those outside influences. I believe we need to do our best to see how the 1st century Jews understood what Jesus and the Apostles taught rather than what a writer in 1500 decided based on several influences not from scripture.

            So then, Jesus and the Apostles taught from the Old Testament so we know that every bit of Christian doctrine can be found there. One important thing to see is that in the Old Testament the Lord used covenants as a means to having relationships with mankind. The New Testament is our New Covenant. If we study the OT carefully and compare it to the NT we can see things similarities in them, concerning covenants.

            Here are just a couple scriptures to show you where I’m coming from, so you can see I’m not completely off my rocker. J Compare these scriptures.

            I will make you descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws (Gen. 26:4).

            “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments…” (Ex 20:5).

            As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you (Jn 15:9-14).

            In all three passages we can see that the privilege of being loved and blessed by the Lord is dependent upon us meeting the obligations of the covenant.

            We enter the New Covenant by faith that the Lord will keep his Word. But there are conditions in the New Covenant that we MUST keep. We must have faith and then continue to have faith (Romans 3:21-23), we must be baptized, we must repent and continue to repent(Acts 2:38,Acts 3:19), we must confess and keep confessing that Jesus is Lord, and we must always obey the Lord (John 15:10,Romans 6:16). When we fail to to any of these we must ask forgiveness, repent and then resume keeping the covenant (Psalm 103), if we do the promise is that we’ll be forgiven. If we continue to the end we’ll be saved.(Matthew 24:13,Mark 13:13)

            (I also apologize for not being able to keep things short.)

            In Mark 16:16, only two conditions of the plan of redemption (the New Covenant) are mentioned — belief and baptism. They don’t represent all that’s required, for example there is no reference to repentance. Repentance clearly is a prerequisite for redemption (Lk. 13:3,5; Acts 2:38; 17:30). The “good confession” (1 Tim. 6:11-13) isn’t included either and it is combined with belief in Romans (Rom. 10:9-10). Obedience isn’t mentioned either (John 15:10).

            It’s common for the New Testament writer to occasionally emphasize certain conditions relating to salvation, without citing all the requirements (cf. Jn.3:16; Acts 17:30; 1 Pet. 3:21).

            Scripture says “believe and be saved” in one place and in another it says “one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.” Those verses do not contradict each other. We don’t either believe or confess to be saved, we must believe and make the confession to be saved.

            The same is true for Mark 16:16 those are two conditions that must be met.

  • Please, everyone, go watch David Pawson speak on being born again. It is on YouTube, and it is called The Normal Christian Birth. It will change your life. Please.

  • Nowhere in the Bible does it say “you have to be baptized in order to be saved”. And likewise, nowhere in the Bible does it say “you have to do good works in order to be saved”.

    Believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST and you shall be saved! ~ Acts 16:31

    However, I do believe that once you are Saved, you will desire MORE… MORE of a relationship with GOD through HIS Word and Prayer. MORE opportunities to serve HIM. MORE ways to share your testimony of what HE has done in your life.

    Therefore, as a believer, you “will want” to do the good works which GOD has created you to do (Ephesians 2:10), and you “will want” to be baptized (Acts 16:26-34). Feel free to read the entire account of Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16)… Baptism is a fantastic symbol of casting off the old man and putting on the new man! It is a public declaration of your faith. You are telling the world that you are now GOD’s child… HIS heir…

  • As Christians we are commanded to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Many times throughout the Bible the importance of baptism is stressed. Do you have to be baptized to be saved? No. But really, why wouldn’t you want to be baptized? You’re making a public profession of your faith and honoring God by following in His footsteps. How cool is that?! Baptism is also very symbolic. For as we were washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and passed into a new life as His blood washed away all of our imperfections and impurities, when we are baptized with water it is symbolizing that cleansing we received when we were raised to walk in newness of life. It also symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. For as He died to take away the sins of the world, when we accept His sacrifice, we die to ourselves, are buried and raised up to walk in His footsteps. I haven’t been baptized yet, actually. I made a decision to wait until I turn sixteen (or even eighteen) because that seems to be a milestone age for most people. I want my baptism to represent not only my public profession of Christ, but also my first major decision as I enter into my adult life. (As a side note, all of Charles Spurgeon’s children were baptized at the age of 19, I believe.) Not all people think the way I do, but that’s a good thing. I’m not exactly normal. =) But baptism is something I believe every Christian should experience.

    • Well said! I always think of the thief on the cross when people ask this; he wasn’t baptized, but Jesus said, ”Today, you will be with me in Heaven”.

          • Right I would never say baptism saves us. But I would also never say we are saved by faith only. There are too many time in the New Testament that we are to believe and to obey. It’s not one or the other.

          • You must believe and obey. Repentance and baptism just come under the heading of obedience don’t they.

            Also, I keep remembering all things Paul said about Baptism, there’s a lot of spiritual happenings going on when we’re baptized.

  • I would
    disagree that it is baptism that saves us. Baptism is one of the ordinances
    given in the New Testament, not a means of salvation. It is Christ that saves
    us with his blood, not the waters of baptism. Baptism (as well as communion,
    the other ordinance) is a symbol of our death to sin in Christ and our rising
    to new life with him. He commands us to do this, so we should. Not because it
    saves us, but because he commanded us to.

    Romans
    6:4 says: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in
    order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
    we too might walk in newness of life.”

    This
    does not mean that if it wasn’t possible for a believer to be baptized, they
    won’t go to heaven. Neither does it mean that if someone is baptized, yet they
    really don’t believe in Christ that they WILL go to heaven. Only belief in the
    death and resurrection can save you.

    One could raise the same question about communion. You would get
    the same answer. (see 1st Corinthians 11:23-26)

  • Hey guys,
    This is long after most people are talking on here, but I’ll dive in anyway (no pun intended!) So, here’s my situation:
    I “officially” came to Christ when I was five or six, and I was baptized that summer. God didn’t really matter that much to me, and basically I believe that I *really* came to Christ two-and-a-half years ago. I’ve been thinking about being baptized again, because the first time… well, it seems kind of like “infant baptism,” where I didn’t really know what I was doing and I didn’t mean it. So guys, here’s the question: Would a second baptism make sense? Or does it not make sense at all? I was baptized, but I don’t believe I was baptized with a full understanding of what was happening, so is a re-baptism in order? I’m not trying to look super-spiritual (to you guys or to my church), but y’all got me thinking about that…

    If you don’t answer, I’ll start tagging people!

  • Baptism is a necessary event in a Christian’s life, because when you are baptized, you are fulfilling a God-given command. Baptism serves as a symbol of what Christ has done for you: died on the cross, buried, and rose on the dead after three days. If you want to learn more about it, checkout what Paul has to say about and read The Great Commission in Matthew 28.

  • It’s amazing how many people believe that you don’t need baptism
    to be saved. It’s dumbfounding.

    There may be circumstances where it’s impossible for a person to
    be baptized before death even though they want to, a foxhole conversion for
    example. We can have faith Jesus is just and righteous in those instances.

    What about the person who chooses to not be baptized? What about
    the person who says they are saved, yet they put off baptism for years or
    decades? In truth only the Lord know whether they are saved or not.

    Scripture says that Baptism is not just a “symbol”, it is not just a “public profession of your faith”, is
    not it a “work” and no New Testament writer ever said the command to be
    baptized (or any of Jesus’ commands) could be ignored.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand everything
    that spiritual that happens in connection with baptism and I’m suspicious of
    any person who says they have it all figured out.

    I’ll also be the first to admit that I do not understand why
    some things that are written in scripture, pertaining to baptism, are there. I
    will only say they are there and we must believe them whether we understand
    them fully or even if they completely contradict what we’ve been taught.

    For example why was Paul told, “Get up, be baptized and wash
    your sins away, calling on his name”? I’ve read the most frequent explanations,
    but the fact is Paul was told to be baptized to wash away his sin. Like you, I
    know our sins are washed away by Jesus’ blood on the cross. But here is one of
    God’s prophet’s saying something else is involved. I don’t get it, but I
    believe it.

    Add to that what Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one
    of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you
    will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” I know on family got the Holy Spirit
    prior to baptism and I know another place says, “…that everyone who believes in
    him will receive forgiveness of sins…” I believe both verses say what they mean
    so I believe we must believe, repent, and be baptized to be forgiven. That’s
    just me. I’m not going to ignore or explain away one because I want to believe
    the other.

    So two known prophets of God say baptism is directly connected
    to forgiveness and consequently salvation and then we have Paul.

    Paul directly kills the idea that baptism is a symbol. He wrote,
    “Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized
    into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so
    that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we
    too might live in newness of life.”

    He also wrote, “You were buried with him in baptism, in which
    you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him
    from the dead.”

    He did not say we were symbolically buried, he made it plain and
    clear that if we “indeed” were baptized we were buried and resurrected with
    Christ. Look closely and you see that like the other two men, whom we know God
    spoke through, Paul is saying that baptism has something to do with a life in
    Christ or salvation (so that…we too might live in newness of life.”)

    Again, I’m not saying that I understand those verses. All I’m
    saying is that I believe them exactly as they are written, even if I don’t
    understand them. I know this also, if I believe what’s written then I need to
    stop believing baptism is just a symbol, a good deed or “works.”

    Do I think baptism saves us? No? Do I think we can be saved if
    we choose not to be baptized? There may some cases where a person can be saved,
    only Jesus knows He is judge not me. However Jesus did teach that those who do
    not repent and who choose to disobey Him won’t be saved that they’ll be thrown
    “into a fire and they will be burned”.

    Nicodemus didn’t completely understand being born again, but he
    believed Jesus. I don’t completely understand baptism but I believe scripture
    and I think many modern teachers don’t teach accurately about baptism. They
    just don’t try to see that there is something spiritual going on at baptism. I’ve
    made the choice to never say that any command that Jesus made isn’t necessary.
    They are ALL necessary.

    Jesus commands are not in the same class as the works that Paul
    wrote about. Those “works” were the Old Covenant, Jesus’ commands are New Covenant.