I believe that baptism is necessary part of salvation. i believe Baptism is a necessary part of salvation the same way I believe that we must believe in Jesus and repent. Many have no problem believing the latter, but a lot of trouble with the former. I have heard it said and preached that baptism is a “work” and it shouldn’t be required for salvation because “we are saved by God through our faith in Jesus”. I have no argument with the statement “we are saved by God through our faith in Jesus” and I believe it is biblical and true, but baptism and faith in Jesus are not mutually exclusive, they work hand in hand. If an argument is to be made against baptism being necessary for salvation, I don’t believe that argument, “it is a work” carries any weight and I want to show you why using a few other biblical examples from the hall of faith (Hebrews 11) that will hopefully shed some light on this issue and even clarify what faith really is:
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
We will start with the example of Noah. In Genesis 6:13-14 God tells Noah, 13Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. 14“Make for yourself an ark of gopherwood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.
What was Noah response to this? Was his response to God, “Man, God this seems like you are forcing me to be saved by works, I don’t like that”, or did he say “I am saved just by believing in you God, I don’t need to build this Ark to be saved”, No! This is how the bible records his faithful response in Gensis 6:22,
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
If Noah decided to stick to his guns and not build this Ark, what would have happened to Noah and his family? Lets look at another example from the hall of Faith with Moses: ”By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel” (Hebrews 11:28)
Lets take a look at this type of Faith that Moses had. In Exodus 12:13 God tells Moses, “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”
What was Moses response? Did Moses tell God, “I’m not going to do that because it just my faith alone that saves me, if you make me paint this strip of blood on my door you are forcing me to be saved by works” Once again, no! This was what Moses told the Israelites in response to God:
22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
Moses responded by obeying Gods instructions and giving those same instructions to the Israelites. What would have happened if Moses refused to tell the Israelites? What would have happened if Moses refused to paint his doorframe?
It is no different with Baptism. Baptism is the point at which we are united with Christ:
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.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:4-5)
Or again in Acts 2:38-39
38 Peter replied, “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. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
God gives all of us the same warning he has given everyone throughout history, there is an impending judgement and here is what you have to do to be saved. When Faith is spoken of in the bible, it is an active Faith not a passive one. We are not saved by taking a bath, but we are saved believing (faith) that through immersion in water, we are united with Christ and will be “passed over” at the incoming destruction the same way Moses believed God and painted his door frame with blood and the same way Noah believed God and built and Ark. It doesn’t make sense for us to tell God, “I don’t want to do that because you are making me work” anymore than it would have made sense for Noah to tell God, “building this Ark is too much work”.
At the end of the day, God can save whoever he wants and i am certainly no one to say otherwise. It might be feasible that God still saves Noah even if he doesn’t build the Ark, it could be possible that God saves the Israelites even if none of them painted their door frames with blood, but if you were Noah, Moses, or the enslaved Israelites, would you want to chance it? Wouldn’t you just want to be secure and know for sure? Obedience through faith in God gives us confidence and assurance of our salvation and baptism is a part of that obedience through faith. I am not going to say who will and who wont be saved, but we all will at same point face judgement the same way Noah and Moses did and i for one would not like to gamble on it.
It doesn’t make sense biblically to claim obedience to God’s promise is a “work apart from faith”. Baptism is responding obediently through Faith to an explicit biblical instructions the same way Noah did by building the Ark and the same way Moses and the Israelites did by painting their door frames with blood. Baptism is just as necessary for salvation as the building of the Ark was and the painting of blood on the door frame was. If one doesnt believe in Baptism being necessary for salvation using the “its a work” argument or using the, “but we are saved by grace through faith” argument, that argument most be applied equally to the entire bible and one would find it is not a sound argument. We dont get to make the instructions for how we need to be saved and the only response in the situation of Moses or Noah or us is to be thankful for the warning and the opportunity to be saved and respond by obeying. God has given us all the same warning he did Noah and Moses, Whats your response?