Whoever believes and is baptized...

"WILL" be saved

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ~ John 3:5

Is Baptsim Necessary For Salvation?

Author: Kenneth Long

Posted: Friday, July 23 2021

Part 1 - The Doctrine of Men

"God has orchestrated our redemption and we must play the notes of HIS symphony with the instruments HE has provided!”

It seems that the importance of water baptism is essentially lost in many aspects of contemporary Christianity. The modern age has given rise to all manner of complex arguments engineered to undermine any correlation between baptism and eternal life. Apologists justify a disconnect between water baptism and salvation by bending the word of God to the contour of human reason as opposed to submitting human reason to divine will and guidance. Unfortunately, the result is a "staunch opposition" to the word of God itself.

The objections from detractors are as diverse as Christian doctrines themselves, but all tend to share a fundamental basis of belief, and that is, salvation is by way of assent alone; there are no "supplemental" actions involved. While some variations of this perspective will include the "act" of confession, others do not. The summation of this dissent has culminated into the term "baptismal regeneration." Used pejoratively for the most part, it is defined as: the belief that water baptism is necessary for salvation. The essence of this sentiment appears in the following excerpt from a religion based website and states:

"Requiring anything" "in addition" to "faith" in Jesus Christ for salvation is a "works-based" salvation. To"add" anything to the gospel is to say that Jesus' death on the cross was not sufficient to purchase our salvation. To say that baptism is necessary for salvation is to say we must "add" "our own" good works "and obedience" to Christ's death in order to make it sufficient for salvation. Jesus' death "ALONE" paid for our sins "

Therefore, baptism is an important step of obedience after salvation but cannot be a requirement for salvation. "Yes, there are some verses that "seem" to indicate baptism as a requirement for salvation. However, since the Bible so clearly tells us that salvation is received by faith alone there must be a different interpretation of those verses " 1

There is strong justification to approach the cited view, and the like sentiment with a great deal of skepticism. Its very foundation is “suspect” at best given the intense scriptural opposition it faces (particularly the disassociation of "obedience" and faith (John 14:15, Hebrews 11:6)) For example, the quote suggests: " to believe that water baptism is required for salvation is to believe that: "

" we must "add " "our own" good works "and obedience" to Christ's death in order to make it "sufficient" for salvation.

To suggest the redemptive work of Christ would suffer some mitigating impact through the association of water baptism is a clear failure to recognize the dichotomous nature of salvation. That is, salvation from the perspective of God as the architect of redemption, and salvation from the perspective of man as its sole beneficiary. God set the terms by which sin "could " be forgiven (completely " independent " of man - John 3:16), and he also set the conditions by which sin "would " be forgiven (completely dependent upon man John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Acts 5:30-32). The dichotomy of salvation becomes even more apparent when we consider sinful man could not atone for "sinful" man, which is why God himself came in the "likeness" of sinful flesh to be the atonement for man's sins. (Romans 8:3, 1 John 2:2 also see Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 9:6, John 14:9, Colossians 2:9). Conversely, God cannot repent for the sins committed by man.

The dichotomy within salvation forms the very basis of reclamation. It is analogous to an empathetic governor willing to pardon a penitent offender seeking clemency. One has the power to provide pardon, the other has the desire to receive pardon. This absolutely cannot happen without the application of faith. Faith is required of man. That application of faith, in terms of salvation, is not realized through a "cognitive" acknowledgement of the sacrifice of Christ alone, but the cognitive acknowledgement of God's sacrifice should spur compliant action (John 14:15) which includes repentance (remorse and rejection of sin - death to sin), and the cancellation of our sins through water baptism (Acts 2:38 – burial to our sins (Romans 6)).

2 Peter 3:9 clearly establishes a nexus between eternal separation from God and " repentance. " It states (KJV) "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, "but" that all should come to "repentance" ." What salvation can the unrepentant have apart from the action the " they" take? Can one accept God's offer of eternal life without a rejection of sin or without obedience to God's commands', of course not. Evidently, what we "DO" in terms of following the edict of God, DIRECTLY impacts the course of our eternal destination. We read in:

1 Timothy 4:16
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; CONTINUE [verb] in them: for in "DOING" this thou shalt both SAVE [verb] thyself, and them that hear thee
King James Version

Christ is at the helm in redressing sin. As he has provided the remedy for sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. Those who seek reconciliation must submit to the course of treatments provided by God to address the degenerative effects of this illness. Revisiting the citation which states:

" we must "add " "our own" good works "and obedience" to Christ's death in order to make it "sufficient" for salvation.

It is also in order to gently dismiss the characterization of baptism as being "our own" good work, We know, from scripture, that water baptism subsequent to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, would be of none effect "except" for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6, Acts 19:1-6, Colossians 2:12). We read in:

Romans 6:3-6
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father , even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
King James Version

Water baptism does not and "cannot" diminish the sacrifice of Christ, but is in fact a testament to his great sacrifice. The bible is clear that only the shed blood of Jesus Christ could have removed the penalty of a second death (spiritual separation) and make available the opportunity of restored fellowship with God and eternal life (Hebrews 10:4, Galatians 3:13, John 3:16).

So, while it is true that water baptism is in fact a "good work", the bible does not attribute baptism as a " work of man" nor man as its source of origin and that water baptism has its applications in terms of sin and resurrection from sin (Romans 6:1-6, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16) which would immediately disqualify baptism as a work of man, seeing that man "cannot" cover, remit, or forgive his own sin.