DOES "SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH" MEAN WE DO NOT
NEED TO BE BAPTIZED?
(A letter to a friend regarding the need for
This is a correpsondence I had with a friend who doubted that baptism
was absolutely essential to salvation. In it you will read his thoughts
countered by my thoughts. My thoughts are distinsguished from his
by the bullet symbols as follows:
Pastor Mike if I may interject without being too controversial.
I believe that <ANOTHER FRIEND> is right and he is saved by his faith.
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but
he that believeth not shall be damned.
Look at the following and tell me what you think. Keep in mind that I am
not saying water baptism is not very important, but I
don't think it is entirely necessary for salvation.
Jesus put salvation after faith and baptism. He did not put it after
faith alone and before baptism, as though you are saved before baptism.
He did not say, "He that believeth and is saved shall be baptized."
Let's start at Acts 10:34-47. Cornelius and the Gentiles received
the Holy Spirit before they were baptized with water. Peter afterward
I disagree. It is absolutely essential for salvation. Remember,
Peter told them what they had to do to be saved and included baptism.
Let us see what you have to say, though.
If they received the Holy Spirit, were they not saved? If they
had been struck dead at that very instant would the Lord have reclaimed
the Holy Spirit because they were not water baptized? In Acts 11:15-18
Peter goes on to explain this to the church.
Not just that, but Peter commanded them to be baptized. A command
is a must. Define the term "command."
If they purposed in their hearts to be baptized, I believe they would have
been saved had they died beforehand. Yet you must understand what
"salvation" literally means. It means "coming out of" or "deliverance."
Israel came out of Egypt and Pharaoh would have grabbed hold of them if
it had not been for the passage through the Red Sea. 1 Cor 10 likens
that passage to baptism. Paul said they were baptized to Moses in the cloud
and in the sea. This is analogous to Spirit and water baptism.
Even Jesus said we cannot enter the Kingdom without being born of the Spirit
So "salvation" is coming out of. Since Romans 6 clearly defines the
purpose of baptism as a baptism into Christ's death, and death is leaving
this present sinful life, then baptism is surely part of salvation.
Acts 16:29-33 when asked what must be done to be saved they replied Believe
in the Lord Jesus will be saved, you and your household.
Every early church record even after the bible was written says that baptism
is absolutely essential to salvation. This liberal idea of no need
for baptism is not from the true church.
And what did that include?
Acts 16:30-33 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do
to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of
the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same
hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and
all his, straightway.
How did baptism come into play here? Hmmmm.... Obviously the
disciples explained baptism to the jailer in the process of telling them
how to be saved. Otherwise there would have been no understanding
of baptism at all for the jailer to submit to it.
Acts 19:1 - 7 Paul came across disciples in Ephesus that had been baptized
with water but not received the Holy Spirit. Paul explained, and
then helped them to be saved.
This is so in every case of salvation in Acts.
They had been only baptized under John's baptism.
Acts 19:3-5 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized?
And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized
with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should
believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Romans 8:9 explains to us that if you do not have the Spirit, you are not
So once again Spirit and water baptism are both necessary for salvation.
So far you have not shown me one instance where the people were not both
Spirit baptized and water baptized in your supposed proofs for no need
Romans is written to people who are already saved. To find the message
directed to sinners, and to read the actual sermons preached to sinners
to discover what elements were told to them for their salvation, you need
to go to the HISTORY ACCOUNT of the New Testament church, and that book
is the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. The epistles were written to those already
saved, who already knew all the details of salvation, and to those who
did not require every single detail reiterated to them as the sinners who
never knew at all.
We must rightly divide the word of truth. You must take the accounts in
Acts properly. You must see that the accounts in Acts were the background
foundational truths for those who did not know how to be saved. All
in the book of Acts who were not saved heard the same message. In
fewer or more words, they were told to experience spirit and water baptism.
We know this since in every case those saved in Acts did experience these
things. Not like today when modernists have detracted from the word
and do not command water baptism as did the apostles. And by the
time you get into the epistles, the background info given in Acts is already
taken into consideration by those who read the letters to the saved people.
And when anything is noted about salvation, these readers already knew
how to be saved, and all experienced Spirit and water baptism.
You do not look in the epistles to discover how to be saved. You
look to the Book of Acts and to Jesus words, themselves, in the Gospels.
And water baptism was simply a command never shirked like it is today amongst
Is remission of sins necessary for salvation?
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every
one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye
shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Water baptism in the name is part of remission of sins in a soul.
Someone denied this and said the grammar means that water baptism is done
BECAUSE of an already present remission of sins through repentance.
But this is not true. It is impossible. Why? Because
the very same terminology and grammar structure is used by Jesus:
Matt 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed
for many for the remission of sins.
2 Timothy 3:15 states salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Is the blood of Jesus only given after remission of sins is experienced?
Of course not!! Water baptism is linked to the shedding of blood
by Christ, for both involve the remission of sins. How could the
blood and baptism be linked? Simple. Romans says were are baptized
into Christ's death. the blood is simply the token that death has
occurred. Whenever we read about the blood, we are obviously meant to think
of His death on the cross.
I know that Paul stated it several times that it was by grace of God and
faith that we are saved.
Read above. Let me add, also, that without faith, baptism is nothing.
And that involves water baptism. That is why an infant cannot be
baptized since an infant cannot believe.
Acts 8:36-37 And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain
water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to
be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou
mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son
But the most conclusive evidence I could find were from Jesus Himself.
The stipulation for water baptism is that one must believe. Without
faith salvation that includes water baptism cannot occur.
Luke 23:42-43 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come
into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him,"I tell you the truth, today you
will be with me in paradise."
I believe Jesus told the man he was saved, not to be to controversial,
but I don't think they hauled him off the cross to be baptized with water.
If one does not understand what baptism is all about, one would say this
very thing. I have heard this a thousand times before. Please
take the time, if you are interested, in reading a study I made in direct
rebuttal of such unsound reasoning. It highlights the thought that
Jesus was not even buried yet. So how could the thief be buried with Him
by baptism into His death. He did not even die yet!
And Jesus told the disciples 43 days after He died on the cross that they
must begin to preach a new message never before preached to anybody, not
even by Jesus Himself.
Luke 24:46-49 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it
behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And
that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among
all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in
the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
"BEGINNING...." In other words, it was not preached yet. But
BEGINNING at Jerusalem it would be the only message they must preach.
Nothing less and nothing more. Jesus Himself said that..
1) repentance must be preached (Acts 2:38 notes repentance)
2) remission of sins in His name must be preached (Acts 2:38 says baptism
in the name of Jesus is for remission of sins)
3) Jesus would send the promise (Acts 2:38-39 says the promise is Spirit
Now, if you look at the words to the thief on the cross and then read Jesus
own words in Luke just as He was going to leave the world 40 days after
resurrection, you would see that only after His ascension was this message
supposed to BEGIN to be preached and nothing else was to be preached as
the message for salvation.
Read the entire study and see if you can refute it at:
THE MESSAGE OF REPENTANCE AND REMISSION OF SINS IN HIS NAME.
It distinctly speaks about the thief on the cross issue.
Mark 16:16 'Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever
does not believe will be condemned.' What is important here is what
He doesn't say, he says who does not believe will be condemned, but He
does not say whoever is not baptized will be condemned.
It is only common sense that if you must believe and be baptized to be
saved, and one refuses to believe, that baptism does not even matter at
Now again I am not saying it isn't important, as you say, Jesus commanded
it, so it is important.
Obviously they won't be baptized if they do not believe. How can
you take the very verse that proves baptism is part of salvation and say
it is not? Jesus said that salvation is AFTER belief AND baptism.
A point on where did it say in the bible to ask Jesus into your heart,
it doesn't say that exactly but in Galatians 4:6 it says God sent the Spirit
of his Son into our hearts.
I guess it is important if He commanded it!!! If He commanded it
then we do not need it for salvation????
Rather than give them the words Peter gave them, you seem to want to give
them a statement that is only a derivation of something found in Galatians
which is not even given as an answer to those who want to know how to be
The devil certainly does not want people to be truly saved. No one
but the enemy would get us to stray from the actual answers that the apostles
gave to sinners, and the answer that Peter, the one given the keys to the
kingdom, gave to all who asked him.
Notice that Peter always was involved with the first preaching to souls
of water and spirit baptism.
Acts 2:37-38 Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their
heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren,
what shall we do? Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and
be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 8:14-17 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard
that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and
John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive
the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they
were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they [their] hands
on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Acts 10:44-48 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell
on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed
were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles
also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak
with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid
water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy
Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of
the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
Peter made sure BOTH experiences occurred with those to whom he preached,
unlike most of the preachers today, including yourself, who lower the value
of baptism to an optional issue.
He was given the keys to open the door to the KINGDOM. Keys of the
Kingdom. And Jesus said we can enter the KINGDOM only by birth of
water and Spirit. And when Peter came to Jews, he used the keys of
spirit and water baptism. When he came to the Samaritans, he used
the keys of spirit and water baptism (they were already baptized but Peter
came to see them Spirit baptized). And when he came to the gentiles,
he came with the keys of Spirit and water baptism.
You miss the connection between Jesus words regarding the Kingdom entrance
by Spirit and water. And then you miss the fact that Peter had those
very keys TO THE KINGDOM and was given them in Matthew 16, and used them
when he preached the first message to which the Jews were saved, the Samaritans
were saved and the gentiles were saved.
And when Paul came to disciples who claimed to be believers, the first
two things he asked them concerned these very two keys to the kingdom:
Acts 19:2-3 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since
ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether
there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye
I know this is discussed in at least one other place in the NT.
1) Have you received the Holy Ghost?
2) How were you baptized?
Again, I am trying not to be too controversial, but I believe according
to the Scriptures you may be misrepresenting a little bit.
Not in that baptism isn't very important, but it is a symbolic act that
confirms your commitment to God
I think that if you look at the Book of Acts and study its messages and
experiences to and of sinners, you will see that I am certainly not offbase
in this respect. But one thing is sure, the devil would like to distract
folks from hearing the true message of the KEYS TO THE KINGDOM.
(my words, no scripture for that) but salvation has been granted without
the physical act according to Scripture.
From what I can find from Paul, and Jesus, though they stress importance
of baptism, they say it is by faith that we are saved.
Is remission of sins symbolic?
And that is involved in baptism. Read Mark 16:16 very carefully again.
Every single account of salvation in the Book of Acts included water and
Spirit baptism. Check it out!
Will you preach what is popular, or preach what the apostles preached?
The correspondence resulted with my friend agreeing with me about
the importance of water baptism in salvation. Praise be to God!