Is Baptism essential for salvation? - Jim Bell

Baptist believe people should be baptized soon after they repent of their sins and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

However, we do not believe baptism is essential for salvation. Baptism has no saving power.

We are saved by faith, and that is the gift of God. Consider Ephesians 2:8 and 9: "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."

Baptists believe that baptism is done by complete submersion in water. New Testament, or believer's baptism, has these essentials: Water--Acts 8:38; much water--John 3:23; going down into the water, being "buried" in the water -- Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12; being raised from the water, coming out of the water -- Mark 1:10, Acts 8:39.

Only a submerged body can represent death and burial. Only then can it be a picture of being raised to new life.

Baptism is a beautiful way to immediately show your obedience to Jesus Christ. It represents His death and burial and His rising again, being resurrected by the awesome power of God. This is the Christian believer's hope, to be resurrected from the grave as Jesus Christ comes again!

Jesus set the example, in Mark 1:9. Those who profess Him as savior want to honor Him by being baptized. He said in Matthew 10:32: "Therfore, whoever confesses Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father who is in heaven."

Why be baptized? Every follower of Jesus Christ should be baptized, because Jesus commanded it. Matthew 28:19 says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them ..."

Baptism represents a picture of breaking from the past and beginning a new life with Jesus Christ. Romans 6:4 says, "Therefore we are buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life."

Some people made professions of faith when they were very young and were baptized shortly thereafter. Then, when they were older and understood the full meaning of repenting of their sins, they felt they should pray and ask God to forgive their sins. After doing this, they also felt they should be baptized again to show their love and respect for Jesus.

I think this is perfectly natural, and those who want to be baptized a second time should not be hesitant to request baptism. You may remember my telling you of seeing our former pastor baptizing those who wanted to be baptized in the Jordan river, and then baptizing himself several times!

I think this answers the question of anyone wanting to be baptized a second time.

The most important act for everyone is to repent of their sins and ask Jesus Christ to save them. I tell those to whom I witness that I would like to see every person in the world become a Christian, because it is a blessed life to those who abide with God.

He offers this wonderful life to all who have faith in Him through Jesus Christ, and it is absolutely free! It is the gift of God!

Why would anyone, who hears the call of God, not accept Jesus as savior? After being saved and studying the Bible to learn how Jesus sacrificed His life for them, they should want to pattern their life after Him and His example and teaching. Then, one of the first things one should do is to be baptized.

Have you accepted Christ and followed Him in baptism? If not, please make this all-important decision soon. I pray you will.