does water baptism save us?

There are some who believe that one is not saved unless one is baptized by water.  According to John 3:36, belief in the Son of God is the requirement for eternal life. One is born again when one accepts Christ as Savior.

36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

We have been saved by grace through faith – not though something we do, which includes water baptism. Water Baptism is a symbol of the faith that saves us. We are not saved through water baptism.  We are saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:5

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

The “washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” is one and the same event – baptism of the Holy Spirit, not of water. We are reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that give us spiritual life – not water baptism. If water baptism was so important, then surely every instance where it talks about what is necessary to be saved would have spoken of the supposed need to be baptized. But there are scripture verses which talk about being saved without mentioning a NEED to be baptized. Acts 16:29-32

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Yes, we see in Acts 16:33 that the jailer and his household were baptized. But the apostle Paul and Silas were clear, people must believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved. No mention was made of baptism being a requirement for salvation. In fact, we see in Acts 2:21 (cp Joel 2:32) that it is those who call upon the name of the Lord who are saved.

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Certainly if GOD thought baptism was so important, then the Apostle Paul would have been sent to baptize – yet scripture is clear he was NOT:

1 Corinthians 1:17

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.

There are many examples where we are told to believe and be saved (Luke 7:50; John 3:16-18; Acts 10:39-48; Acts 16:31; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13), that it is by grace, not a work (not something we DO, such as be baptized). 1 Corinthians 6:11 speaks of  being washed, sanctified, and justified by the Holy Spirit, not water baptism (much like we see in Titus 3:5). Hebrews 10:22 speaks of having our hearts sprinkled (this is by the Holy Spirit), and our bodies cleaned (water baptism). 1 Peter 3:21-22 speaks of the water that symbolizes the baptism that saves us – that by the Holy Spirit.

21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Yes, there are instances where we are told to call on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-15), or confess the name of Jesus (Acts 2:21), or be baptized (Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16). But there are too many instances where it is by faith that we are saved. All these have in common is faith. It is the faith that saves us, and the actions that give evidence to the faith being real.

Confessing Christ as sent from God is an expression of faith. Baptism is a form of confessing Christ, just as is calling on Him. The three are expressions of the faith that saves us.

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2 Responses

  1. WHO BELIEVES WATER BAPTISM IS ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION? BY STEVE FINNELL

    THERE ARE MEN WHO BELIEVED OR BELIEVE THAT WATER BAPTISM IS ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION AND THERE ARE THOSE WHO REJECT THAT REQUIREMENT.

    THOSE WHO REJECT WATER BAPTISM AS A PREREQUISITE TO SALVATION.
    Max Lucado
    T.D. Jakes
    John MacArthur
    Charles Stanley
    Billy Graham
    Joel Osteen
    Rick Warren
    Jimmy Swaggart
    Chuck Colson
    Charles Swindoll
    Jerry Falwell
    Joyce Meyer
    And all “Faith Only” preachers.

    THOSE WHO BELIEVED WATER BAPTISM WAS AND IS ESSENTIAL FOR SALVATION

    The Apostle Peter
    The Apostle Andrew
    The Apostle James the son of Zebedee
    The Apostle John
    The Apostle Philip
    The Apostle Bartholomew
    The Apostle Thomas
    The Apostle Matthew
    The Apostle James son of Alphaeus
    The Apostle Simon the Zealot
    The Apostle Thaddaeus
    The Apostle Matthias

    Acts 2:37-38 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren,what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    All twelve apostles believed water baptism was essential to the forgiveness of sins.
    ———————————————————————————

    Ananias believed water baptism was essential to be saved.

    Acts 22:1-16…..10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me , ‘Get up and go on to Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do’……..12 “A certain Ananias …..16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized,and wash away your sins, calling on His name.

    Ananias, a spokesman for Jesus, told Saul to be baptized to wash away his sins.
    ——————————————————————————-

    The Apostle Paul believed water baptism was essential for the forgiveness of sins.

    Colossians 2:12-13 having been buried with Him in baptism, ……13 ….He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

    ——————————————————————————-

    Jesus, the Son of God, believes water baptism precedes salvation.

    Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; ……..

    Shall be saved does not mean already has been saved.

    ——————————————————————————-

    If you are looking for answers about faith and practice of Christianity under the New Covenant, should you look to Ananias, the apostles, and Jesus or should your spiritual guidance come from men who deny that water baptism is essential to forgiveness from sin? Do you really want to follow the teaching of men who say you can be saved before you are baptized in water? THERE ARE NO DRY-CLEANED CHRISTIANS!

    • You have not provided evidence that the apostles thought you needed to be baptized in water to be saved – you merely made the statement without support.

      I have already thoroughly dealt with these verses in this post: https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/what-is-meant-by-baptism-for-remission-of-sins/

      Realize that the word ‘for’ actually is ‘eis’ in Greek. This word means ‘in’. So Peter was saying change and be baptized IN (or because of) the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. You are not being baptized so you will be forgiven, but because you have been forgiven. This is simpy you giving evidence that you have the faith God gave you at the same time He gave you repentance.

      We can look at the various translations and see the word ‘for’ is used. The translation is accurate, but the understaning of the word has been confused by people who want to claim that you must do something to be saved. The word ‘for’ has two meanings:
      1) “Jesse James is wanted for murder,” and
      2) “Good looking woman wanted for marriage to hard working man.”

      The first example is “because” – Jesse James was wanted because he murdered someone. The second example is “to be” – the good looking woman is wanted to marry the hard working man who placed the ad. Both are valid understandings of the word. At time like that, you go to the original language. The Greek word is ‘Eis’, which means ‘in’. So in this case, you would be baptized in the remission/forgiveness of sin – not so you would be forgiven, but because you have been forgiven.

      Acts 22:16

      Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

      Notice that in Acts 22:16, Ananias said to Paul to be baptized and wash away his sins, “CALLING ON HIS NAME.” Water baptism IS considered calling on Christ’s name. This matches Romans 10:9 – which is what Paul taught. Paul was clear that he wasn’t interested in baptizing people, 1 Corinthians 1:17 reads,

      For Christ sent me not to baptize , but to preach the gospel : not with wisdomof words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect .

      Some want to say that water baptism is when we were buried with Christ. But as we see in Colossians 2:11, Paul spoke of circumcision made without hands – a spiritual circumcision. In the same way, the baptism Paul spoke of here is not water baptism, but a spiritual baptism.
      Colossians 2:9-14

      9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

      We are saved through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
      Titus 3:5

      He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit

      1 Peter 3:21-22 speaks of the water that symbolizes the baptism that saves us – the pledge of a good conscience toward God.

      21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

      We see in Hebrews 11 an entire chapter dedicated to people who had faith and demonstrated their faith by their actions. That is what we are called to do by God, as Paul tells us in Acts 26:20,

      20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
      Looking at Mark 16:16, we see,

      He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

      So we see Jesus say that if you have no faith you are condemned. But if you have true faith, you will be baptized. Its not the baptism that saves you, but that gives evidence to the faith you have. This is seen more clearly when you look at the word translatd here as ‘and’ – it is Kai in Greek. This word means, “and, also, even, indeed, but.” So a better translation would be, “He that believes, even baptized, shall be saved; but he that does not believe will be damned.” The idea is that if one truly believes, one will be baptized to show that belief, but if one doesnt have faith, then one is condemned.

      But while baptism is important, because it shows our faith, not being baptized is no worse than any other sin. Indeed, all of us will continue to sin until we die. Some will sin in one area, while others will sin in other areas. So long as we have true faith in what Christ has done and we continue to grow to become more like Christ, then eventually, we should be baptized to show that we have faith in Christ and are obedient.

      Baptism is NOT a part of faith; it is ALWAYS mentioned separately, distinct from faith. It is evidence of faith. There is a huge difference. It is something we DO – an act, a deed, a work. We are NOT saved by works or deeds, but by grace through faith – which we see in Ephesians 2:8-9

      8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

      There are many examples where we are told to believe and be saved or it was faith that saved someone, that it is by grace, not a work (not something we DO, such as be baptized):
      Luke 7:50

      50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

      John 3:16-18

      16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      Acts 10:39-48 (note that the gift of the Holy Spirit came upon the people before they were baptized in water)

      39 We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

      44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.

      Acts 16:31

      31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

      Titus 3:5 (washing of regeneration and renweing by the Holy Spirit are one event)

      5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

      Ephesians 2:8

      8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

      2 Thessalonians 2:13

      13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

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