Do I need to be baptized to be saved?

Thanks so much for responding to our web site! We believe everything the Bible says about baptism and in no way minimize its importance. However, one must always compare Scripture with Scripture. And it is the view of the vast majority of Christian scholars that salvation is by grace through faith alone as indicated by Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16, I John 5:1 and many other Scriptures, and that water baptism is a result and not causative.

Some cite Mark 16:16 as their proof text that baptism is necessary for salvation, but they only quote the first half of the verse and typically leave out the second half. In some ways this issue is a paradox, and there are many paradoxical things in the Bible. The way to resolve them is to look at the whole of Scripture. When we do, we find that there is absolutely nothing we can do as humans to earn salvation. Zero. Romans 6:23 tells us that salvation is a “free gift.” Free means that there is nothing we can do to deserve it. Baptism is something we do or do not do. If baptism or any other human work or activity (such as going to church) contributed to salvation, we could boast that we did something and contributed to our salvation (which some people do). However, Scripture says that no one should boast before God.

We are trophies of His grace. Baptism is an act of obedience, not to obtain salvation, but because of it — because we love Him and want to obey Him, and to show to the world an outward sign of the inward work He has already begun in us. An unsaved person would not even want to be baptized because he would not have the Holy Spirit indwelling him to prompt his desire for obedience. The fact that one even wants to be baptized is evidence that the Holy Spirit already indwells that person, a result of already being born of the Spirit by faith.

Another reason we do not mention water baptism in our Four Spiritual Laws is because that ordinance is conducted by the churches, and we are not a church. However, we always encourage new believers to become a part of a local church.

I hope that answers your questions. Please feel free to write us again if you have any more questions. God bless you!

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