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What Does the Bible Say About … BAPTISM AND SALVATION? Part 1

Besides the thief on the cross, is there any evidence that one can be saved without being baptized?

The answer is easily answered by quoting Luke 23:40-43 “But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 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.”  NIV

The man on the cross next to Jesus never had the opportunity to be baptized, as he was dying on a cross, and he was saved.

But what about someone who has the opportunity to be baptized and doesn’t do it, will he be saved?

Again the Scriptures are clear: Eph 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- “not by works”, so that no one can boast.  NIV

My question, though, is why would we not want to be baptized if we accept Jesus in our life?  Doesn’t Jesus urge to do so in Matt 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” NIV  Would we want to do anything less than what Jesus instructed us to do?

Look at the beautiful story of when an Ethiopian eunuch was approached by Philip and the gospel message was presented to him.  What was his first reaction after he accepted Jesus into his life?

Acts 8:36-38 “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water.  Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”  And he gave orders to stop the chariot.  Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.”  NIV

Nobody had to urge him to be baptized. And nowhere in the New Testament can we find one example of one person accepting Jesus and refusing to be baptized.  That would be unheard of!

You see, through baptism you identify yourself with Christ’s death and resurrection.  You publicly acknowledge that Jesus is now part of your life.  Wouldn’t you want to identify yourself publicly with Jesus?

Col 2:12 “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”  NIV

Rom 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  NIV

It is time my friend that you make a firm decision about Jesus and stop the hide and seek game.  Invite Jesus into your life and profess Him publicly.  He is your loving Savior who left His kingdom behind, just to save you.  He is the one who was willing to die for you so that you would enjoy eternal life. Come to Him and accept Him publicly.  Do the first step today and answer His call at Tomorrow may be too late!

Rob Chaffart


When we are baptized, we reject Satan, all His works, and all His empty promises because we believe in God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. By renewing and living our Baptisms, we sense the Holy Spirit crying out in our hearts “Abba” (“Father”) (see Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15; see also Luke 3:22). This frees us to imitate Jesus in freeing those “in the grip of the devil” (Acts 10:38). Baptized into Jesus, we are “a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness” (Is 42:6-7). As we live our Baptisms more freely and fully, the Holy Spirit “establishes justice on the earth” (see Is 42:4) and renews “the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30). We need to be baptized to be saved.

Mike Williams


I have been asked this question many times. My response is you should as an act of faith allow yourself to be baptized. However, when you are saved, you are baptized by the Holy Spirit. Is this a copout answer? No. Some people are elderly and physically being baptized may not be possible, the same with the infirmed. I think God, realizes each situation and will allow the Holy Ghost to enter whenever possible.

BJ Cassady


I know that there are a variety of responses based on one’s Religious Sect. Some fell that as soon as a person accepts Christ, they must immediately be baptized, or would not be able to enter Heaven. There are differences of opinion on exactly what constitutes baptism, sprinkling, infant baptism, immersion, or standing in water and having it poured over one’s head.

I look to scripture and see that Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Was Jesus lying? The thief certainly had no chance for a watery baptism, although the baptism of the Holy Spirit could be considered. But then the Holy Spirit did not arrive until after Jesus’ ascent in to Heaven. There seems to be many questions, and answers. Scripture tells us that the only way to Heaven and Eternal life is through the salvation given through Jesus the Christ. I do not read that the lack of baptism bars one from the eternal life given by grace through Jesus.

Baptism is meant as an especial statement of one’s testimony of rebirth, as Jesus told Nicodemous, “ye must be born again.” We are not reborn by any type of water, but by the blood of Jesus. Public baptism is a statement of one’s faith in the rebirth through Jesus. It is desirable certainly. When Jesus went to John to be baptized, His father God said, “This is my only son in whom I am well pleased.”

One should certainly enter the baptismal waters at the first opportunity, but a death bed profession, if real, is as saving by grace as that of one young who will live many years. Baptism should not be rejected if it is available, doing so is akin to withdrawing one’s profession of faith. But it is the profession of faith in Jesus, not the water, that has the saving power.


How do we define necessary? If baptism was not necessary why would Christ command us to be baptized? I find it hard to believe that a person could ignore a command by our Lord to be baptized in his death and be called a Christian. Of course being called a Christian and actually being a Christian are not necessarily the same thing. So if you ask me if Baptism is needed, I would answer WWJD.

Love in Christ, Roger Carr


Yes, we must be baptized to be saved, BUT not in water!

Baptize means to immerse. If you use an exhaustive concordance to research this like I did some years ago, you will find out that the Bible talks about several types of baptism/immersion. Baptism into Moses (1 Cor 10:2), baptism into death (Mark 10:38; Romans 6:4), baptism into water, baptism into the Holy Spirit, baptism into fire (Luke 3:16), and baptism into the name of Jesus (Acts 8:16). It is critical, in fact, life and death, to understand that baptism does not necesarily mean into water, but only means immersion until it is qulaified by the rest of the sentence or paragraph! As with all scripture interpretation, context is critical. So which one of these immersions will save us?

Matthew 28:19 (“…baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”) is not a magical incantation that must be recited in order to get someone saved. The great commandment tells us to baptize people into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Sprit, but it does not say to say these words while immersing someone in water. In other words, our tradition does not interpret this verse. Look at what it does not say; water is not mentioned is it?

Let me explain: immersion into water is a baptism of repentance (Luke 3:3; Acts 11:16; Acts 19:4). Immersion (baptism) into the name of someone is different and not necessarily concurrent with immersion into water. Have you not known people who were dunked into the water and they did not have a change of lifestyle? Did not Jesus say that his disciples would be known by their love? (John 13:35) If you are immersed into someone like the President or you are totally involved with a member of the opposite sex or you live and breathe Dale Earnheardt Jr, then you are a follower; you are commited to that person. (1 Cor 1:13) To be baptized into someone is to be sold out to them! (Gal 3:27)

Personally, I was baptized into water, but said no to Jesus when He called me. Personally, I have seen those who are following Jesus whole heartedly and they have not been baptized into water. This is seen in the Bible also in Acts 10:44-48. Here, they are immersed in the Holy Spirit, then into water and into Jesus by verbal commitment.

It is dangerous to teach or to believe that you will go to heaven, that you know God or that you have power over sin just because someone put you under water and said the right words while doing it. As with all important things, your heart must be in the right place. If you are not sold out to Jesus, then you are not baptized into His name! If you have not made this commitment, then today is the day of salvation, take the plunge! Please receive the dunking into water as a public confession of repentance and also immerse yourself into the living Jesus!

Todd Shilt

Being baptized in water is often spoken of as the believer’s identification with the death and resurrection of Christ, notably Rom 6:3,4.

FFBruce noted this text as reflective of the early church’s teaching and practice of water baptism. But being ‘baptized into Christ’ means more than simply going under water. It refers to one’s being united with Christ in newness of life.

In fact, the Matthean expression (28:19)’baptizing them into…’ pictures the act of baptism as an initiation into a life of discipleship with Jesus Christ as Lord. This is the meaning of the preposition ‘into’ in Hebrew/rabbinic usage in the context of pre-New Testament baptisms./washings.

Thus, putting it in the Matthean context Water Baptism introduces the baptizand into and consecrates him for a new life of discipleship. Understandably, the thief on the cross did not have that opportunity! But how about the rest of us?

Andy Basilio, Bakersfield, CA