There is much opposition to baptism being essential and necessary to become a Christian today. The faith only or ask Jesus into your heart in prayer approach dominates our world. Even thought that manner of being saved is specifically repudiated in Scripture (James 2:24) people continue to cling to it. Perhaps these five questions will help someone see the truth about baptism and how it now saves you (1 Peter 3:21). I believe these questions are absolutely unanswerable and make a powerful and airtight case for water baptism.
<h2> IF BAPTISM IS NOT NECESSARY TO SALVATION WHY WAS IT PREACHED FIRST? </h2> <p>There is no doubt where the stress is in the first Gospel sermon ever preached in Acts 2. Jesus is the center of the message (vv. 22-24), but no one can deny that baptism is up front and dead center when it comes time to discuss how to respond to what Jesus has done. Verse 38 says And Peter said to them, 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. Baptism is undeniably part of the first gospel sermon, and it should be noted, there is no reference to faith-only salvation or praying to receive Jesus as one’s personal savior.</p>
Think for a moment about the priority that places on baptism. Peter doesn’t have time or desire to go into trivialities or to chase around with theological rabbits. A great crowd has been summoned and he wants to maximize that moment, to get the information to these people that they need so they can be right with God, and be right with God right now. Baptism is, again, undeniably part of that information. It is part of the Gospel, and not only that, it is so vital to Christianity it is front and center in the Gospel the very first time the Gospel is presented. What we talk about first reveals priority. And so it did on Pentecost!
<h2> IF BAPTISM IS NOT ESSENTIAL, WHY ARE SO MANY BAPTIZED IN THE NT? </h2> <p>The common teaching today is about baptism is that it’s a good idea, but it is just not essential to be saved. Often people say I ve been baptized, and I think people ought to be baptized, should be baptized, will be baptized. But it’s not necessary to be salvation. you’re saved by faith only. Yet what is amazing is that in the book of Acts something entirely different is seen: people don’t treat baptism as a good idea, something that ought to be done one of these days. Everyone is baptized in Acts, scores of folks, and they are baptized right then, immediately <em>as if (this is the key)</em> it was urgent and necessary. Note the following references where this point is seen again and again: Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12,36; Acts 9:6 (note Jesus says must do not might do); Acts 16:33 (a baptism in the middle of the night). Consistently the NT treats baptism as a matter of the highest importance, with the most urgency possible attached to it. It is treated as essential and necessary to become a Christian, never as something one does after he or she is already saved. If this is how it was in New Testament times, where the inspired apostles were present to instruct and guide people, why should it be different today? Did you notice that while we read about baptism everywhere we don’t ever read of faith only salvation? we’ve not read of a single person who has been told to be saved by faith only. we’ve not found a single story of conversion that has people praying to receive Jesus, kneeling in prayer to ask Jesus into their heart. we’ve not heard anyone told that all they must do is receive Jesus into their heart by faith and be saved. In short, we don’t read a single time of anyone doing or being told to do what everyone is told to do to be saved. Instead, we see people being baptized everywhere! Why is that if baptism is not necessary to salvation?</p> <h2> IF BAPTISM IS NOT ESSENTIAL, CAN ONE BE SAVED OUTSIDE OF CHRIST? </h2> <p>Let us be clear what we mean by being lost: we mean being separated from God by sin (Col 1:13; Isaiah 59:1-2). That means there is a time, a point, when a person goes from being outside of Christ, outside of salvation, not saved, in the dark, to being saved. It is actually a definable moment, specific and certain time. On this day, at this time, I became a Christian, I was born again, I was saved, I was transferred into the kingdom of His power.</p>
That immediately presents the question How do you get transferred? What puts you in Christ? How do you get one from one realm to another? The Bible does not leave us to wonder. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27). We are baptized into Christ. Paul cannot be any plainer about that. Thus, if a person can be saved before baptism, without baptism, doesn’t that mean a person can be saved while still outside of Christ? The NT makes plain that person becomes a Christian, becomes part of the body of Christ, the saved, at the point of baptism. Baptism puts one into Christ. If baptism isn’t essential to salvation that would mean one could be saved outside of Jesus! How is that possible?
<h2> IF ONE CAN BE SAVED WITHOUT BAPTISM WILL THE DEMONS BE SAVED TOO? </h2> <p>The majority of the religious world teaches salvation without baptism, by faith only. For example the Methodist Church teaches ARTICLE IX. Of the Justification of Man: We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. <strong> <em>Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.</em> </strong> (<em>The Book Of Discipline Of The United Methodist Church</em>, 1968, p. 39). Yet there is a crucial problem with that teaching. James tells us there are some with a great deal of faith but no one thinks they will be saved. In James 2:19 he tells us you believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe - and shudder! If faith only saves we need to ask Will the demons be saved too? They have faith! Please understand there is nothing in James 2:19 different about the faith of the demons than the faith of men and women today. Indeed, that is the very comparison being made, but be assured there is not one kind of Greek word here for your faith and another being employed for the faith of the demons. It’s all the same here. don’t say it is not real faith - they shudder, they tremble, the faith has an effect upon them. Thus, the demons believe, they have faith like we have faith. So we ask again, Does that faith save them? If not, why not?</p> <h2> IF BAPTISM IS NOT ESSENTIAL, WHY IS IT SPECIFICALLY SAID TO SAVE AND TO WASH AWAY SIN? </h2> <p>We don’t have to guess what people think of baptism. Baptism is not essential for salvation. There is not one passage in the Bible that teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. (<em>Joe T. Odle, Church Member’s Handbook, Rev. Ed., 1962, p. 22</em>). Baptism is not essential to salvation. (<em>Edward Hiscox, Standard Manual for Baptist Churches, pp. 20-21</em>). This is what men say. Here is what the Bible says: And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name (Acts 22:16). 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 (1 Peter 3:21). It is very clear that for centuries people have taught against baptism’s real importance, power and necessity. It is also equally clear that the truth about baptism simply cannot be veiled. The Bible is just too plain about it. Each person must decide which he/she will believe: the words of men or the word of God. But the Bible is clear: baptism washes away sin, baptism puts one in Christ, baptism saves.</p>
In conclusion, these questions put every reader in the position of having to make a decision: will I do what the Scriptures teach or will I cling to religious traditions that defy and contradict the Bible? We urge you to be baptized for the remission of sins that you might be a Christian today!