Dialogs and Commentary

Baptism: Required for Salvation?

An email excerpt from Dean VanDruff answering the question "Is baptism required for salvation?"

Salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ, not through any thing we can do--or might do--in obedience. That we do these things--once our eyes have been opened to the Truth (Jesus)--is clear, but let us be also be clear about the sole basis of our salvation, and it is not anything about or in us, but about Him.

John 14:6 (NAS) Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me."

Rom 10:9-10 (NIV) ... If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

Eph 2:8-9 (NIV) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God--not the result of works, so that no one may boast.

Also keep in mind the following passage of scripture:

Luke 23:39-43 (NIV) One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

All of us must repent and believe. That is the only way to salvation.

Baptism is the testimony, if you will, of our willingness to be united in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It is an outward sign to the world that we have been born again into the kingdom of God, but it is not the way to salvation.

Baptism adds nothing to salvation. Salvation is Jesus. It is His name: remember that Yeshua (Jesus) means salvation. Let us not miss the point of who salvation is. He is not a "dip into water", but our Creator, Lover, and Savior. We either have Him or we don't.

There is only one salvation--even Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Acts 4:12 (NRS) "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved."

The matter goes beyond mere opinions or emphasis; for some insist that baptism IS NEEDED to be saved, and this is a serious issue. In the first century church, the issue (along the same lines) was circumcision. People figured that you might as well go ahead and get circumcised "just in case"--and because some people were saying you had better or your were not really of God. This "legalism" (adding some requirement--no matter how small or godly sounding--to the way of salvation) is clearly dealt with in the Bible, and all you need do is substitute baptism for circumcision when you read these text since they are dealing with the same spiritual issue: Is it Jesus (salvation) PLUS something else, or is Jesus sufficient?

The Bible deals with this issue with extreme severity. There is no other teaching so vehemently attacked in the New Testament as legalism--adding "works" to the gospel of Jesus (salvation) Christ (Messiah--the Anointed One).

For is it either law (not a good idea) or grace (the gospel). The two can NOT be mixed. You must choose your path...

Gal 5:1-10 (NRS) For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery... Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace... For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love. You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty.

Gal 3:1-5 (Wey) You foolish Galatians! Whose sophistry has bewitched you--you to whom Jesus Christ has been vividly portrayed as on the Cross? Answer me this one question, "Is it on the ground of your obedience to the Law that you received the Spirit, or is it because, when you heard, you believed?" Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now going to reach perfection through what is external? Have you endured such sufferings to no purpose--if indeed it has been to no purpose? He who gives you His Spirit and works miracles among you--does He do so on the ground of your obedience to the Law, or is it the result of your having heard and believed...

Gal 1:3-9 (NIV) Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Again, these are very strong scriptures. Be careful not to let even a little "leaven" in. It (according to scripture) will poison your whole spiritual life.

Baptism is a step (one of many thousands) of obedience to the Lord for those who have received salvation. If we are truly saved, we will obey; in this and in a thousand other things. It is wrong and dangerous, then, to single out baptism as the one exclusive thing you must do to achieve salvation. You cannot get salvation by the law, even if you take one easy thing to do among all that God requires and legalistically hype that as being it. In fact, if you try to do so, or encourage others to do so, you risk condemnation, according to the Spirit of the Lord.

Heb 6:9 (NIV) Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case--things that accompany salvation.

Heb 2:1-3 (NIV) We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

Titus 2:11 (NIV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

Acts 17:11 Bible Studies
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