Question: Baptism v. Salvation?

I am not married, and I have not been baptised, but I love your blog as it has taught me a lot about Christianity and relationships. Also, you all seem open minded so I would love it if someone might reply to me, even if it’s just private.

I don’t want to get baptized until I know I am ready and pure enough to serve god.

I have pulled some excerpts from an email that we got recently, and I wanted to take the time to talk about baptism.  It’s going to be an interesting topic because different religions have a different take on baptism, especially when you should baptize.  In this article, I am not going to go into that portion of the debate at all, but to the meaning of baptism.

I grew up in a world where it seemed very serene and peaceful in my house.   Not once did I know that my family was poor.  Everyone helped everyone else out in their time of need.  Extended family members all had a talent for something….one relative was good with car repairs, another was good with building and carpentry, another one was an awesome cook….you get the picture.   We all did good deeds for each other.   That’s a good thing, right?

The bible tells us that good deeds are not enough.   We can do many good deeds, but what would Heaven be like if we all bragged on what we did in our life?   “I fed 1,000 homeless people every Sunday”…. Or “I did weekly auto repairs for the widow down the street who couldn’t afford to fix her car”  Or “I preached millions of sermons that brought millions to Christ”….. don’t we do enough of that on Earth right now?  What would be so special about Heaven if we were all like that?

The Bible tells us there is only one way to Heaven…Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.   Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the light.  No man comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6) Jesus also tells us in John 10:7-10 ” Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Do we need to be baptized to go to heaven?  No.  In the Bible, when someone believed in Jesus and was saved, they were baptized to publicly proclaim their belief.   The Bible never claims that baptism is what saves you.

What does baptism mean?    Baptism represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.   I believe firmly in baptism by immersion, even though I was sprinkled as a child by my parents.   When you publicly declare your salvation, the immersion indicates the fact that you believe that Christ died and was buried (when you are immersed) and that he conquered the grave and rose again (when you come up from the water).   Salvation is a personal decision that no one can make for you.   Baptism is a choice.

Do you have to get your life in order before you can be saved or baptized?  Heavens, no!.   God loves you just as you are.  If you are feeling the need of a Savior, do it now.  Don’t wait.  We do not know the day and the hour that the Lord is returning, so don’t wait.  Do it now.   God and the Holy Spirit will help you start to get your life in order after you are saved.   Do you have to be baptized right away after you are saved?  No.   I would recommend finding a group of Christian people to fellowship with that will help you to grow and to mature in the ways of the Lord.   Be still and listen to the calling of the Holy Spirit who will guide you through out your life.  I didn’t change much after I asked Jesus to be my Savior.  It took some time, and I went through several church homes before I found one that I felt comfortable in and I started learning.   Get yourself a good Bible.  If you are not familiar with the Bible at all, get a New American Standard (NASB) or a New International Version (NIV) that is easier to read and understand.  I use a Ryrie Study Bible (NASB) because I love all the additional notes that Dr. Charles Ryrie wrote below the text that helps explain things better.   Start with the Gospels.   Any one of them is a wonderful start.  I happen to love details, so Luke is my favorite gospel.  Being a doctor, Luke gives lots of information.  Read the bible, talk to a pastor if you have questions about the bible or about baptism.   It took me about 2 years or so before I really felt comfortable with being baptized again since I had a lot of questions about my original baptism, but it felt really good to publically profess my faith to the friends that I now had in the church.

This article is written from my own perspective and is pretty much what is taught in most Bible and Baptist churches, and other Christians might see it differently.  I hope this answers any questions!

5 Comments

  1. Great explanation of Biblical truth, Spicy Nutmeg!!

  2. Beutifully, wonderfully and clarly put. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for talking openly about God on asite like this.I also might add baptism is sort of an outward expression of our faith, kind of like our wedding ring. We wear it to let others know we are married, but if we didn’t have or wear one wouldn’t we still be married? Baptism is an open way to say I’ve made a decision to follow Christ, again, without it we are still saved and on our way to heaven, (if you’ve asked Jesus to be your Savior) I wouldn’t put it off, it can improve your daily walk knowing you’ve obeyed God

  4. First I want to say that I truly enjoy this website. I visit it on a daily basis.
    Second, it is not my intention to start theological arguments, but I would like to refer to a few verses in Scripture which speak on this topic. Mark 16:15-16 (NIV) says “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whosoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'” I Peter 3:20b-22 says “In it (Noah’s ark) only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledges of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” In his Pentecost sermon, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit (remember the tongues of fire) said in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be bapized, 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.” Finally, in giving what we call the Great Commission, Jesus Christ himself said (Matthew 23:19) “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.” This was not a suggestion–it was Jesus’ marching orders.
    Salvation can only be obtained in Christ, through His grace. It cannot be earned by our own efforts. Jesus said that no one can come to the Father by any other way than through Him. Galations 3:27 says “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.” The New Testament here states that is is at baptism that we get “into Christ”, that we “put on” or “clothed” ourselves with Christ, and there is no salvation outside of Him.
    It is true that baptism alone does not lead to salvation. Without belief, faith, and repentance, baptism is nothing more than a good wetting down. But the New Testament is clear that baptism is a necessary step, that it is not mearly an option or a good idea.
    To the person who started this thread and said she didn’t want to get baptized until she is pure enough to serve God: that will never happen, not for any of us. The Bible says our righteous is like filthy rags before God and that our sins are like a foul odor to Him. ONLY the blood of Christ can cover our sins and hide them from God and make us acceptable to Him. It is Christ’s holiness alone that makes us holy. Don’t wait to achieve holiness on your own. It won’t happen. But the good news is that we have a helper available to us. I already quoted Acts 2:38, which says when we are baptized, then we wll recieve a great gift–the Holy Spirit, who will help you and guide you.
    Again, I don’t mean to offend anyone or to start arguments. I simply want to say what the Bible says. I know that this is an issue of much contention, and since it is not really within the stated purpose of this website, I will understand if the spiceygirls decide not to post it. I want only to help, not to do any harm.
    Great Website.
    God bless all of you.

  5. I am going to respond to this, but i want to put my thoughts together. One thing that I want to make sure that our readers understand. Baptism DOES NOT save you. Water baptism is an outward sign of your repentance, but it does not save you. Faith in Christ is the only thing that saves you. Unbelief is what condemns you, not the fact that you are an unbaptized believer. More later….


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